Opportunities, Proposed PhD Topics

PhD position at Uppsala University

PhD student in applied nuclear physics, nuclear safeguards for SMR


This project is devoted to research on non-proliferation and safeguards aspects related to the introduction and possibly deployment of SMR:s in Sweden. Of particular interest is accounting for and verification of the nuclear material, which means that the reactors themselves are central, but that also that other issues related to e.g. the transportation and storage of fuel could become relevant. In this context, potential challenges include geographically distributed and even transportable reactor systems, systems located at non-traditional sites, and nuclear materials and reactor operations that differ from current commercial large-scale light water reactors. Safeguards solutions need to be comprehensive, cost-efficient, robust, make efficient use of safeguards resources and be as non-intrusive as possible on plant operations. The main objective of this project is to provide safeguards concepts and solutions to ensure that safeguards requirements can be met during development, assessment and licensing of SMRs. The project will also research methods and equipment suitable for safeguards verification of the fuel cycle activities for modular reactor systems. Although this project focuses on the introduction of SMRs in Sweden, the research is highly relevant for the implementation of safeguards on an international level, through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well as on a regional and national level.

Research tasks include studies of selected SMR concepts to better understand safeguards considerations and challenges associated with all parts of the fuel cycle. This may include aspects related to national legislation, deployment scenarios, operation modes, logistic and storage considerations and fuel recycling. The objective is to better understand what implications the deployment of SMRs and or Advanced Modular Reactors could have on nuclear safeguards, from both a technical and non-technical perspective. This work could benefit from considering proliferation assessment studies, diversion pathway analysis or studies on material attractiveness. The research is furthermore expected to include analysis of (national) needs in terms of e.g. new facilities, new logistical solutions and new instruments/approaches/methods. This part of the project is related to the societal impacts of deployment of SMRs, and the work is foreseen to be done in collaboration with other partners and working groups in ANItA.

Another major part of this project is research on the characterization of material flows of fresh and irradiated fuels, and assessments related to future fuel use in the SMRs, as well as safeguards-relevant process materials streams. It is expected that the PhD student will model and simulate for instance used nuclear fuel as well as the detection of radiation from the fuel in order to draw conclusions about how to best verify the nuclear material. This research is expected to also include the use of machine learning methods for data analysis. Also this part of the project will be executed in collaboration and cooperation with other partners and working groups in ANItA.

Placement: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100 %

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: ST/TCO tco@fackorg.uu.se
Seko Universitetsklubben seko@uadm.uu.se
Saco-rådet saco@uadm.uu.se

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2023/1069

Last application date: 2023-05-02

A detailed description can be found HERE