The Env-Rad-Net is an STFC-funded global challenge network aimed at engaging the UK scientific research community to develop the underpinning science required to meet the challenges associated with nuclear decommissioning, radioactive waste disposal, and accidental or illicit release of radioactive materials. We aim to do this by developing the use of STFC facilities, in particular, synchrotron, neutron, laser, and computing techniques.
The UK has a substantial legacy of radioactively contaminated land and nuclear wastes. Current UK government policy is to dispose of this radioactive waste in a geological disposal facility, and decommission legacy nuclear sites over the next decades. Coupled to this, issues concerning the accidental or illicit release of nuclear materials into the environment are at the forefront of UK governmental concern. These tasks are some of the most demanding managerial, technical, and environmental challenges facing the UK in the next century, and are estimated to cost ~£100 billion.
Overcoming the challenges associated with geodisposal, decommissioning, and potential nuclear incidents will require a considerable amount of fundamental research concerning radionuclide behavior in natural and engineered environments. This includes understanding processes at the atomic and nanoscale, and scaling up to complex systems at the field and regional scale. It also involves studying processes at timescales varying from seconds to > 1 million year. This type of bottom-up approach, where fundamental science is used to underpin our understanding of the environment, is essential to successfully completing these national-level nuclear projects.
Our vision is that the Env-Rad-Net will build a collaborative network linking academic researchers, STFC scientists, and relevant government agencies and implementers, to enable a step change in the research capability and output in these areas and thus deliver significant national-level impact.
Telephone: 0161 275 7596
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