Applications are invited for this full-time, fixed-term post, working in Bangor University’s Nuclear Futures Institute as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Nuclear Engineering.
Duties will include simulation of various nuclear reactor technologies focusing on fuel cycle
Candidates should possess a PhD (or be near completion) in nuclear engineering or relevant related subject and have a good track record of academic writing and contributing to publications for peer-reviewed journals.
The successful candidate will be expected to commence on 01/07/2023 and the post is available until 30/06/2025.
For more information about the Nuclear Futures at Bangor please refer to our website here: https://nubu.nu
Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed towards Dr Marat Margulis: [email protected]
This role will be located on campus at Bangor. Through our Dynamic Working framework , there will also be the option to spend some time working remotely (although remaining in the UK) to support work life balance, which will be discussed further with candidates at interview.
Applications will also be considered to carry out the role(s) on a part-time or job share basis.
Applications will only be accepted via our on-line recruitment website, jobs.bangor.ac.uk. However, in cases of access issues due to disability, paper application forms are available by telephoning 01248 383865.
Closing date for applications: 05 June 2023
Committed to Equal Opportunities
It is widely perceived that to meet the low carbon emissions set by the Paris Agreement; nuclear energy must play a vital role in the decarbonisation of various sectors. The advantages of nuclear power are clear – it is not periodic as solar and wind, the Levelized Cost of Electricity is competitive, the material throughput is negligible per unit of energy generated, and it has a low ecological footprint notwithstanding radioactive waste generated.
However, nuclear energy is not without problems in particular the possibility of material getting outside of government control enabling atomic weapon proliferation. It should be noted that the discharged fuel from a Light Water Reactor (LWR), the primary deployed nuclear power technology today, does not reach the needed purity to constitute weapons-grade plutonium. Plutonium grade is dictated by the ratio of 240 Pu to the total amount of plutonium, which must be less than 7% to be classified as weapons-grade. For comparison, the discharged fuel from a typical LWR has 240 Pu content of more than 19%. However, it is still possible to achieve the necessary plutonium purity by changing the operational procedures of a plant.
However, is it really possible to “kill two birds with one stone”? Can we ensure reactor operation cannot be altered to produce nuclear weapons while enabling nuclear energy for all?
The objective of this research is to identify a way to ensure that the vendors are able to supply a broader range of customers with fuel that will be more resistant to proliferation.
A non-proliferating nuclear fuel for various thermal reactor technologies can be obtained by increasing the relative amount of 238 Pu in the generated plutonium. Generally, all the Pu generated in the fuel is a result of the absorption of neutrons in 238 U. This produces 239 Pu, although a fissile isotope, is the gateway to the following Pu isotopes (240, 241, 242) through additional absorption reactions. Studies showed that plutonium with high 238Pu in the mix (above 6%) could be considered proliferation resistant. To ensure 238 Pu to Pu ratio will be above 6% through the entire irradiation cycle, it is proposed to dope the fresh fuel with 241 Am or 237 Np; both are sources for 238 Pu.
Based on previous preliminary studies, there is clear potential in the proposed method. However, clear conclusions cannot be derived, as initial studies did not consider realistic reactor operation. Nevertheless, even at this point, it is possible to say that no safety issues related to reactor operation are expected. On the contrary, using a strong absorber such as 241 Am will help in mitigating the excess of reactivity at the beginning of the irradiation cycle.
Thus, the project will explore the impact of fuel modification on the performance of all the currently available thermal reactor technologies – Pressurised and Boiling Water Reactors (PWR and BWR), Hight Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors (HTGR), Fluoride Salt-Cooled High-Temperature Reactors and Canada Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactors.
Purpose of the Job
This role will support the Nuclear Futures Institute and help in achieving its aim to establish “A world leading capability in Nuclear Engineering, which establishes North Wales as a global centre, delivering international partnerships and opportunity from a rich mix of existing and new talent. Leading the UK nuclear agenda and rejuvenating the UK and Welsh nuclear sector.”
Main Duties and Responsibilities
- Perform fuel cycle calculations and optimisation for various reactor technologies.
- Study the implications on reactor safety performance as a result of fuel modification.
- Examine financial and operational models for dopped fuel manufacturing.
- Acquire and maintain a thorough and up to date knowledge of the scientific literature related to the research aims of the project. Actively support the principal investigator in developing new techniques. Scheduling and testing research. Collecting and analysing data. As required by project, be prepared to visit other institutions to use their facilities.
- Delivering research outcomes. The post-holder will be required to produce articles for publication in high quality journals on a regular basis. To contribute to the dissemination of research outputs through relevant scientific technical and public press and conferences.
- Deliver regular presentations to the research group to allow progress to be monitored and research results to be discussed.
- To collaborate with co-researchers and write up the results in scientific articles. If required for a programme of work with a collaborating organisation produce progress and final reports. Discussing and sharing results with grant holders.
- Seek to establish and reinforce collaborative research links both within the university and with other organisations.
- Identify and develop commercial opportunities stemming from research work. Including submitting patent applications and pursuing innovation funding.
- Administration of the research project. Participate in project meetings. Coordinate project to meet aims and objectives. Liaise with stakeholders (external and internal). Ensure appropriate time management controls are implemented.
- Monitoring of financial controls associated with the research project. Behave in financially responsible manner. Ensure that spending on the project is conducted with due diligence and in a prudent manner. Quotes for products and services should be discussed with principal investigator.
- Oversee the ordering, delivery and installation of equipment related to the project.
- The post-holder will be responsible working in a safe and responsible manner in the laboratory and will be expected to undertake any necessary training or induction procedures before starting their practical work. They will also be asked to help monitor laboratory access and may be required to train other lab users to ensure that high standards of safety and scientific practice are maintained. Maintaining a tidy and safe working environment by ensuring equipment is regularly maintained and reporting failures to allow timely replacement or repair.
- Advise and collaborate with undergraduate, post-graduate and placement students. As required, prepare and give lectures, perform lab demonstrations and tutorials.
Other Duties and Responsibilities
- The post holder will be expected to participate in performance review and developmental activities.
- The post holder will be expected to comply with the University’s equality policies and statements, Dignity at Work and Study Policy and the University’s Welsh Language Scheme.
- The post holder has a general and legal duty of care in relation to health, safety and wellbeing and must take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for him/her self and for other members of staff, students and visitors affected by his/her actions or inactions. The post holder is also required to comply with all applicable health and safety policies, procedures and risk assessments.
- The post holder must comply with relevant legal and financial policies and procedures and be aware of their responsibilities in terms of the legal requirements of their post.
- A PhD (or be near completion) in nuclear engineering or relevant related subject.
- Good knowledge of reactor physics codes, such as – Serpent, Casmo/Simulate, WIMS, etc.
- Experience in fuel cycle analysis and reactor design.
- Experience of conducting high quality research by publication in well-respected scientific journals and talks at significant conferences.
- An awareness of financial and operational models of industrial plants.
- Experience in the economic analysis of industrial systems.
- Analytical skills in energy systems, energy economics and policy.
- A willingness to work closely with specialists across multiple academic disciplines such as materials, reactor design, nuclear medicine and finance/economics.
- A willingness to initiate and develop links with industrialists in order to better understand the needs of their businesses.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the bilingual nature of the institution and area.
- Desire and competence to communicate results to wide variety of stakeholders.
The University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds. We strive to develop a workforce from all sections of the community regardless of sex, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, trans identity, relationship status, religion or belief, caring responsibilities, or age. We promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language through our progressive Welsh Language Policy. We comply with the Welsh Language Standards and are committed to equality of opportunity. You are welcome to apply for any job in English or Welsh and all applications submitted will be treated equally.
We are a member of Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Gender Equality charter and hold a Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to and progress towards gender equality within the University’s policies, practices, and culture. We are proud to be a Disability Confident employer.
All members of staff have a duty to ensure their actions are in line with the overall environmental aims of the University and minimise their environmental impact.
All offers are made subject to proof of eligibility to work in the UK and receipt of satisfactory references.
All candidates must meet the requirements of UK ‘right to work’ requirements *** If you require Home Office permission to work in the UK, or need to switch your visa status in order to take this job we recommend you use the following link to information about the routes into employment and to check eligibility requirements: https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration/work-visas
Please note that we are unable to employ anyone who does not have the right to live and work in the UK legally. When applying for this post you will be required to explain the basis upon which you believe you will be able to live and work in the UK legally on the commencement date of the role should your application be successful.
Candidates should also note that they may be required to apply for an ATAS certificate (Academic Approval Technology Scheme) from the Counter-Proliferation and Arms Control Centre of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office before being able to apply for a visa – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academic-technology-approval-scheme
Please note that, in the event of applications being received from candidates on the University’s Redeployment Register with a reasonable skills match to the post specification, these applicants will be given prior consideration.
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