Academic Expertise in Nuclear Energy
From north to south Wales, leading edge nuclear R&D programmes are underway, addressing key industry issues including technology, training, supply chains, production and economics.
Bangor University in north Wales is a prime example. With both nuclear decommissioning and new-build projects on its doorstep, the University is building a world leading capability in nuclear engineering which will be the hub of a global network.
With a focus on existing and emerging technologies in the nuclear sector including Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) , Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) and Small Modular Reactor (SMR), Bangor University will become a leading centre of expertise.
Already, Bangor University and Imperial College London, with Hitachi-GE providing technical expertise and support, have established a joint “BWR Research Hub and Network”. This BWR Research Hub and Network brings together the UK research base with Hitachi Nuclear researchers to help develop future generations of Boiling Water Reactor technology.
At a broader level, Bangor University is also developing a number of highly ambitious projects in the wider energy sector with a focus on sustainable and secure energy supplies for the future.
Professor David Shepherd, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University said: “Together, these initiatives will establish north Wales as a global centre of expertise, and help develop a new generation of scientists and engineers to tackle the urgent need for energy security around the world.”
Swansea University boasts a strong track record in materials research which includes collaborations with the National Nuclear laboratory (NNL). Specific areas of activity include:
- Investigation of inter-granular corrosion (IGC) initiation on stainless steel used to clad spent fuels; plus,
- Characterisation of the localised corrosion behaviour of Magnox magnesium alloy.
Aligned with this activity, the University’s focus on ‘Atoms to Applications’ has seen a £9 million investment by EPSRC and the Welsh Government to establish an Advanced Imaging of Materials facility.
AIM is an integrated scientific imaging facility for Wales that can provide imaging and analytical capabilities across several length scales from Angstroms to centimetres. The Centre has strong linkages to large scale private and publically funded facilities that can extend this capability (in both directions) to picometers and meters. Swansea also boasts considerable mechanical testing facilities.
The Welding Institute (TWI) is working with the nuclear industry to deliver process knowledge and system solutions in specialist joining and welding, non destructive testing and materials testing techniques. Their Advanced Engineering Materials Research Institute (AEMRI) aims to develop a nuclear fabrication Research Centre at TWI Wales in Port Talbot to support the nuclear supply chain in the delivery of skills and knowledge.
Meanwhile, Cardiff University runs three separate nuclear projects:
- The Understanding Risk Group at the School of Psychology is researching public attitudes towards nuclear power and radiation.
- The Geoenvironmental Research Centre at the School of Engineering is researching high-level nuclear waste disposal, nuclear repositories and waste isolation.
- The School of Chemistry’s Heterogeneous Catalysis and Surface Science Group is using analytical equipment to study the interaction of small molecules with surfaces — part of a collaboration with the National Nuclear Laboratory, studying long term storage of nuclear waste.
Alongside our higher academic programmes Wales is working with Horizon Nuclear Power to provide 3 year technical apprenticeship opportunities via Coleg Menai in north west Wales.
Group Llandrillo Menai who is National Skills Academy for Nuclear’s accredited local provider for delivering the Triple Bar qualification, which focuses on the basic principles of nuclear generation, health and safety and ‘human behaviors’. This is an essential basic requirement for working on existing nuclear sites and allows the holder to access and work un-supervised on a nuclear facility.
Glyndŵr University in north Wales is a recognised training provider and is an HE Associate Member of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear.
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