Dounreay funds a doctorate for research on radioactive particles


The research will focus on the issue of particles in the marine environment near Dounreay. Image: DSRL and NDA

Dounreay is funding research through the University of the Highlands and Islands for a doctoral project to model the behavior of radioactive particles in the marine environment.

An important part of the work to close the site is to remedy the legacy of radioactive particles that wash up on the nearby beaches.

Nuclear fuel has been reprocessed at Dounreay for almost 40 years. The spent fuel rods were dismantled in basins filled with water in a process that generated metal fragments, some of which entered the site’s drainage system and were discharged into the sea in the 1960s and 1970s.

Dr Iain Darby worked with Dr Jason McIlvenny of the Thurso Environmental Research Institute to offer a full PhD scholarship on this topic.

He said: “Over the years we have been involved in a lot of research on the behavior of particles, and we are able to make predictions about the number of particles in the marine environment and where we would expect them to be. that they are.

“However, this is an extremely important area of ​​research for the site and for our continued management of this issue.”

Dr McIlvenny said: “The Doctoral Fellowship provides an exciting opportunity to collaborate with Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. [DSRL] to explore a difficult environmental problem.

“The project will involve working with state-of-the-art equipment to understand the historical movements of inherited particles and to understand the environmental conditions that potentially lead to the mobilization of radioactive particles in the marine environment.”

The successful candidate will be based at the Institute for Environmental Research at North Highland College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands, and will regularly visit Dounreay.

Dounreay also supports the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) Doctoral Fellowship in Muon Imaging at the University of Glasgow, the NDA Doctoral Fellowship on Eversion and Growing Robots: Pipe Navigation, Inspection and Characterization at the Queen Mary University of London, and a PhD via Changes in thermal ablation of concrete as a promising decontamination technique. The research of all these doctors will be tested at Dounreay in nuclear dismantling projects.

More information is available from Dr Iain Darby via [email protected]

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