Decommissioning, Immobilisation and Storage
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DISTINCTIVE is a multi-disciplinary collaboration of 10 universities and 3 key industry partners from across the UK’s civil nuclear sector.

1st Annual Meeting

Date: May 14, 2015

The DISTINCTIVE University Consortium held its 1st Annual Meeting at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, on Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th April 2015. The event brought together academics and researchers involved in the programme, as well as representatives from industry, research institutes, governing bodies and regulatory authorities, to share the research advances made in the field of nuclear waste management and decommissioning since the programme started in February 2014.

The objectives of the event were to:

– Facilitate knowledge transfer between academia and industry

– Enable our researchers to engage with industry experts and potential employers

– Provide networking opportunities

– Promote the uptake of DISTINCTIVE research into industry

– Generate new collaborative research ideas

Twenty-one oral presentations were given by our researchers across four technical sessions: AGR, Magnox and Exotic Spent Fuels, PuO2 and Fuel Residues, Silo Ponds and Legacy Wastes and Structural Integrity. These sessions were opened and chaired by invited experts from our key industrial partners (Danny Fox (NDA), Howard Sims (NNL), Cristiano Padovani (RWM NDA) and John Riding (Sellafield Ltd), respectively). Thirty-six posters were also presented by our researchers during the coffee and lunch breaks. Consequently, the event gave our researchers the opportunity to raise awareness of their projects within the community, and to receive the support and guidance that they need to progress their projects over the duration of the programme.

Delegates also received keynote presentations from three international representatives of academia and governance: Prof. Eric McFarland (University of Queensland, Australia), Prof. Ian Pegg (Catholic University of America, US) and Rodrigo Rimando (U.S. Department of Energy). These speakers offered an international perspective on issues being addressed by the consortium, and introduced research activities that the UK R&D community can learn from.


Delegates attending the 1st Annual Meeting


In a session titled Cross-Cutting Themes, Prof. Neil Hyatt (University of Sheffield) provided an update on a number of proposed outreach activities. This includes a radio-documentary that is currently being led by Frances Byrnes (University of Sheffield) and Matthew Thompson (Rockethouse). Both took the opportunity to give an overview of this project, and to request the support of our academics in forming a proposal to submit to the BBC later this year.

A priority of the NDA is to maintain the key skills and capability within this sector. To support this mission, the NDA sponsored two PhD awards; one for the best oral presentation and one for the best poster presentation. The winners of the prizes were voted for by industry delegates, and we would like to congratulate Stephanie Thornber (University of Sheffield) and Conrad Johnston (QUB) who received these awards.


Rick Short, NDA, presenting the PhD student awards

Overall, the event proved to be a great success with over 115 delegates from the UK, USA, Germany and Australia in attendance; over 50 of these delegates were from outside of the consortium! Those who attended left with a better understanding of the individual research projects and their importance to the UK’s nuclear decommissioning programme. There was a great deal of interaction throughout the two days, and a number of new relationships were formed which will ensure the success of the projects, and the consortium as a whole.


Our DISTINCTIVE PhD Reseachers

The next Annual Meeting will be held in Bristol in April 2016. More details are to follow soon.

We would like to thank our key project partners NNL, NDA and Sellafield Ltd. for their ongoing support.

The final agenda, the delegate pack that contains an update from our researchers for each of the projects, and copies of the oral presentations can be downloaded from our Document Library.

If you would like to see more photographs from the event, please contact Abby Ward (

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