Research Centre for Radwaste and Decommissioning

The Dalton Nuclear Institute has launched the Research Centre for Radwaste and Decommissioning RCRD undertaking research and training in all aspects of the safe geological disposal of radioactive wastes, and the decommissioning of existing nuclear installations and radioactively contaminated materials.

The RCRD Aims are:
  • To undertake research into all aspects of the safe storage and disposal of the UK’s radioactive wastes that will inform and underpin the safety case for a deep geological disposal facility.
  • To undertake research into all aspects of the decommissioning of the UK’s existing legacy of nuclear power stations and other installations containing radioactive contamination.
  • To provide research and training in activities related to radwaste and decommissioning to ensure the UK has the expertise to meet current and future challenges.To engage with the whole UK community on the issues surrounding radwaste and decommissioning.

Future development

The RCRD will continue to grow its portfolio of research activities, especially at the interface with industry, exploiting the opportunities available through calls from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the UK research councils. The focus will be on the primary challenges facing the UK’s nuclear industry. 

Each member of the RCRD will develop their own research programmes centred on their expertise and collaborating with other researchers to address the fundamental and applied aspects of radwaste disposal and decommissioning.

International Activity 
A specific aim is to increase links with European researchers who are working on similar challenges to those faced by the UK and are, in some cases, in a more advanced state of readiness for geological disposal than the UK. The Centre, with its wider Dalton Nuclear Institute links, will aim to develop an International reputation and links with research groups worldwide. Publications, high profile presentations and demonstrable industrial applications are essential to achieve this. These links are also essential if we are to obtain the maximum advantage from existing knowledge, develop collaborative programmes and tension the quality of our outputs against a worldwide standard. 

The members of the RCRD will continue to grow the provision of training to fill the UK skill’s shortage through PhD and Masters level research. The RCRD members will increase activity associated with the Manchester/Sheffield Nuclear FIRST DTC, the Nuclear Engineering EngD programmes and NTEC projects. Full or joint funding with industry (the latter using EPSRC/NERC DTAs) will be sought.The members of the RCRD will develop Masters level provision suitable for continuing professional development (CPD) activities. These will vary from components of the DTC first year training, to full 15 credit-rated postgraduate modules. In collaboration with Dalton, markets will be identified that match with RCRD members experience. Cost effective bespoke training will be developed. 

In 2011, funded by the University of Manchester, new laboratories capable of hosting work with radioactive and biological materials will be constructed and commissioned. These will be sited in the Williamson Research Centre for Molecular Environmental Science and allow environmental radiochemistry to be undertaken, providing complementary facilities to those in the CRR and in MACE (graphite laboratories) at Manchester.The Dalton Cumbria Facility (DCF) will be commissioned in 2012 and the development of the RCRD will be closely linked to the DCF strategic plan, especially in the areas of decommissioning research. The RCRD will be informed by the development of the DCF and three full members of the RCRD will be based at the DCF. A major challenge for the RCRD is to fully utilise the opportunities afforded by the DCF and to develop research groups there maximising the research and training capabilities of the University of Manchester (and its academic partners), the DCF and the NNL. 

National Nuclear Laboratories 
The RCRD will continue to develop links with the National Nuclear Laboratories (NNL) across the UK. After 2012 the proximity of the Dalton Cumbria Facility to the NNL Central Laboratories on the Sellafield site and the NNL labs at Workington, will facilitate this relationship. Joint appointments (Professor Anthony Banford), joint research fellowships, joint research projects and joint bids to commercial/industrial and RCUK initiatives will be made. 

You can visit the RCRD site here.