Eight research proposals considered for £4m NDA funding

Thirty delegates were invited to attend a workshop to identify research challenges associated with the implementation of geological disposal with the potential for successful research projects which could share a total of £4 million of support. 

The funding is being jointly made available by the NDA’s Radioactive Waste Management Directorate (RWMD) and the Research Council Energy Programme.

Over 70 responses were received following the invitation for expressions of interest that was published in July 2010. Of those, 30 applicants – representing a wide range of expertise and academia – were invited to the workshop which took place in mid September 2010. The event was also attended by observers from the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) and the nuclear regulators.

Neil Smart, RWMD’s Head of Research, said:

“The workshop focussed on four thematic areas: waste package behaviour, gas, the engineered barrier system and radionuclides. These areas were considered to have the most potential to yield important information.”

As a starting point to the discussions at the workshop NDA experts gave presentations on the key themes and the attendees offered comments and then worked around these themes to develop outline proposals.

As a result 11 outline proposals were submitted and reviewed. Eight were invited to submit full proposals to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) by 4pm on 23 November 2010. These will be subject to external refereeing and a final panel will sit in February 2011 to advise on funding allocations.

Stephen Elsby, Senior Sector Manager, Energy at EPSRC said:  

“These projects will bring together the research excellence of the UK academic base with the real world challenges associated with a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF). They offer direct benefits to UK science and the realisation of a GDF.”