Nuclear science and engineering

Nuclear energy is a key component of the UK’s energy mix and critical to our transition to a low carbon energy future which is secure and cost effective. While the current generation of UK civil nuclear power plants (NPP) are now at, or near, their end of life, there is a new generation of NPP planned.

Hinkley Point C in Somerset will be the first new NPP built in the UK since the 1980s, representing the latest technology. In addition, the UK Government has started a programme of investment in research and development (R&D) on the next generation of NPP and fuel cycle facilities. The research challenges of managing the decommissioning of existing plant, building and operating the current generation and developing the next generation are considerable. Worldwide, investment in this area is expected to top £1 trillion in the decades ahead.

The University is one of the UK’s leading centres for engineering focused research in the nuclear fuel cycle, and has a long track record of research partnerships with academia and industry and across the UK’s civil nuclear sector.

For example, we host the Sludge Centre of Expertise with Sellafield Ltd (the UK’s largest nuclear site operator). Read a case study about work by the Sludge Centre of Expertise to find ways to manage nuclear waste safely.

Our new state of the art MULTIForm (Multiphase Fluid Flow In Nuclear systems) facility will enable researchers to understand the turbulence, heat transfer characteristics and the impact of gas injection on liquid mobility in bubbly reactor flows, and critically, future salt reactors. Our facility will provide top-of-the-range instrumentation for high-fidelity validation of computational fluid dynamics models in order to predict performances in a variety of nuclear reactors, transportation or separation units.

We also lead the multimillion pound TRANSCEND project and ATLANTIC research consortiums in decommissioning and accident tolerant fuels.

For more information, please see the Nuclear Engineering Group.