Summer research opportunities 2020

Applications are invited for up to two summer 2020 paid undergraduate research opportunities studying  science and engineering across the five participating universities in the Nuclear placementEnergy Futures CDT (Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, University of Bristol, The Open University and Bangor University). 

If you are curious about a career in the nuclear industry and want to gain insight into studying the subject at an advanced level, these opportunities are perfect for you.   

Placed in a supportive and stimulating environment, the successful candidates will work with PhDs, postdocs and academics to help to conduct research on real-world problems and opportunities affecting the nuclear sector.

We particularly encourage applications from female candidates, as this group is currently under-represented in the UK nuclear industry.

Read through the list of available summer placement projects, and if you want to learn more about that project please feel free to contact the supervisor. If you want to make an application, please e-mail your CV and cover letter to j.tate@imperial.ac.uk The title of the e-mail should be ‘NEF CDT summer placement application’ and in the body you should specify what project you are applying for and the name and contact details of one academic reference.

 

 

Summer research opportunity projects 2020
TitleDescriptionUniversitySupervisor(s)
Advanced modelling techniques for nuclear fuel performance  

Nuclear fuel is commonly made from a material such as uranium dioxide fabricated into cylindrical pellets.  This material is a brittle ceramic with low thermal conductivity and fractures in multiple places the very first time the reactor is taken to full power.  The fracture is driven by the strong thermal gradients across the pellet, which for a pressurised water reactor can be as large as 200˚C per mm varying from 400˚C at the pellet edge to 1200˚C at the pellet centre.  This cracking is important later in the fuel life when the pellet fragments expand into the surrounding metal cladding tube.  Ultimately this can can lead to failure of the fuel cladding through processes such as iodine stress corrosion cracking that impacts on the operation of reactors because it places constraints on operation of reactors meaning they are slow to change power.  Currently wind power is balanced on the grid by gas-turbines and in a zero carbon future this will not be possible and therefore the ability of new small nuclear power plants to respond to changes in power quickly could be the way forward.  This project aims to explicitly model this initial heat driven fracture process using a non-local phase field approach, embedded in a finite element code, and compare results to that generated by another non-local fracture method called peridynamics.  This will be done for current and future fuels designs under different time-to-power scenarios.

 Imperial College London Dr Emilio Martinez Paneda and Dr Mark Wenman
Projects

 

FAQs

Are there any eligibility criteria?

Any UK/EU undergraduate student studying a relevant scientific/engineering/energy discipline is eligible.

Generally speaking however, these summer research research opportunities are most suited to students in the second and third year of their undergraduate degree.

We will accept up to two candidates each year.

How do you apply?

Read through the list of available summer placement projects, and if you want to learn more about that project please feel free to contact the supervisor. If you want to make an application, please e-mail your CV and cover letter to j.tate@imperial.ac.uk The title of the e-mail should be ‘NEF CDT summer placement application’ and in the body you should specify what project you are applying for and the name and contact details of one academic reference.

How much is the bursary?

There will be variation among the partners due to different living cost calculations and policies, but successful candidates can be expected to be paid no less than £300 per week. The amount will be confirmed when an offer is made.

These payments are intended to cover your travel to and from the university, subsistence on site and any other incidental costs relating to your research opportunity.

More information

For academic/technical matters relating to the project, please contact the supervisor of the summer placement project.

For questions about the scheme, please contact Dr Jonathan Tate, j.tate@imperial.ac.uk

What happens during the application?

Applications will be evaluated by an academic panel comprising members from the University of British, Bangor University, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and The Open University (the Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy Futures).

Based upon candidates’ CV, cover letter and academic reference the applications will be ranked. The top two candidates will be made offers; if one or more reject we will then make offers further down the list until both placements are filled.

We aim to notify successful candidates by mid-May 2020.

If you are not successful one year, you are still welcome to apply in the subsequent year.

When do applications open and when do they close?

Applications opened on Monday 3rd February 2020 and they will close Friday 24th April 2020 at 17:00.

When do research opportunities start and how long do they last for?

The exact duration of the research opportunity will be confirmed with the supervisor, but are typically no less than 8 weeks and no more than 10 weeks.

They will take place between July and September. The exact start and finish date will be agreed with the supervisor.