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29 June 2010 | PR 10/102

Loughborough University awarded major grant for nuclear materials research

Loughborough University is joining forces with five other academic institutions to help enhance understanding of the performance of the materials used in the next generation of nuclear reactors.

Energy security concerns and the need to limit carbon emissions have put replacement of the country's nuclear power stations back on the agenda.

For this £1.75 million EPSRC funded project researchers will investigate how to improve the long-term structural performance of materials where service conditions at nuclear plants are exposed to high temperatures, aggressive chemical environments, radiation influences and complex load histories.  It is critical under these conditions to understand the materials’ stability and degradation and monitor their condition.

The output from the research will greatly benefit industrial partners and the UK engineering and science community.  As nuclear fission expands, there will be an increased need for the development of future designs, life extension for maximum economic impact and improved techniques for safety assessment.

The project is being led by The Open University and features academics from Imperial College London and the Universities of Bristol, Manchester and Oxford, as well as Loughborough.

Mike Fitzpatrick, Lloyd’s Register Educational Trust Professor of Materials Fabrication and Engineering at The Open University said: “We will integrate our work on the long term behaviour of materials to gain better understanding of their performance.  This is especially critical if future nuclear fission technologies are to operate at high temperatures and for the long lifetimes required to be economically competitive with the less sustainable options for electricity or heat generation.”

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Judy Wing
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: J.L Wing@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

1. The consortium consists of:

The Open University – Professors Mike Fitzpatrick and John Bouchard, and Dr John Francis

University of Manchester – Drs James Marrow, Michael Preuss, Joao Fonseca and Joe Robson

Imperial College London – Professors Robin Grimes and Peter Cawley and Drs Frederick Cegla, David Dye, Mary Wenman, Mary Ryan and Finn Giuliani

Oxford Materials Department – Professors Chris Grovenor, George Smith, Steve Roberts

University of Bristol – Professor David Smith and Drs Tom Scott and Antony Croxford

Loughborough University – Professor Roger Smith and Dr Steven Kenny, School of Mathematics

2. The consortium will be supported by ten dedicated PhD students who will undertake in-depth research projects on industrially-relevant projects, and a number of senior postdoctoral researchers.

3. The Lloyd's Register Educational Trust (LRET) is an independent charity working to achieve advances in transportation, science, engineering and technology education, training and research worldwide for the benefit of all.

4. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2009 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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