Central England


CEB January Lecture: Improving Fission Fuels

 On the 31st of January Dr Ed Darnbrough, of St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, gave a public lecture organised by Central England Branch of the Nuclear Institute at Ridgeway House on Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire. The talk focused on the broader application and impact of some of Ed’s work on nuclear fission fuels. The lecture was well attended by a cross-section of nuclear professionals from local offices (National Nuclear Laboratories, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, etc.) as well as a number of interested laypeople and researchers from both Diamond Light Source and ISIS.

Ed was able to communicate the role of thermal conductivity in both the efficiency and safety of a nuclear reactor outlining shortcomings in the fuel currently used, citing cutting edge work by Ed and his collaborators at Bristol University on radiation damage in uranium dioxide (PRL 2019 link https://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.97.224303), and highlighting the possible replacement uranium silicide and uranium nitride fuels that are being worked on as a possible replacement. Work is now being conducted to build a safety case to allow current power plants to be converted to use more efficient accident-tolerant fuels.

written by:

Mehdi Askarieh

21 February 2019