Designing materials for safer nuclear power

Designing Materials for Safer Nuclear Power

£7.5 Million project to support sustainable future energy

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Royce researchers will help make nuclear power cleaner, cheaper and safer – working with international industry to better understand the performance of critical components in the fuel assemblies of reactors.

A team including researchers from across the Royce is advancing knowledge of vital protective Zirconium alloy cladding for highly radioactive fuel used in nuclear reactors, to help improve safety, cost efficiency and to help meet carbon reduction targets in energy generation.

To operate reactors as safely as possible, fuel is often removed well before it is spent due to lack of knowledge about the reactor’s material properties. This reduces the cost efficiency of nuclear power as an energy option, as well as the fuel assembly prematurely becoming additional waste, which must be safely handled and stored over the long term.

The MIDAS project, supported by a £7.5 million grand from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will keep the UK at the forefront of fusion research. Researchers from the Universities of Manchester, Oxford, Imperial College London and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy will collaborate with industry to better understand these materials in the extreme environments of a reactor core – enabling more efficient use of nuclear fuel and cleaner, cheaper and safer nuclear power.


Nuclear power plant
Collaborating with industry leaders

The MIDAS research project brings together a consortium of 12 leading partners
including Westinghouse Electric Company, Rolls-Royce, Wood Nuclear and EDF.

Prof Michael Preuss

“MIDAS will allow us to truly position the UK as a global leader in the field, and make it the place to go for sophisticated post-irradiation examination studies. It will allow us to bring together so-far separate, but world-leading, expertise in characterisation techniques, mechanical properties and modelling tools”

Royce Champion, Materials Systems for Demanding Environments & PI, MIDAS.