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Thermochemical modelling of radiation induced segregation in stainless steel clad for interim storage of spent advanced gas cooled reactor fuel pins

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Tuition fees, stipend and additional allowances

Duration: Full-time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 25 October 2023

Interview date: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates 

Start date: January 2024

For further details contact: Michael Fitzpatrick

Project details

Coventry University is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship in the area of modelling radiation enhanced segregation in nuclear steels in collaboration with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the National Nuclear Laboratory.

The spent nuclear fuel from the UK’s advanced gas cooled reactors (AGRs) needs to be stored for several years before final disposal. The stainless steel cladding encasing this fuel is exposed to significant neutron bombardment during its time in a reactor and this may cause microstructural changes which affect its subsequent resistance to intergranular attack and corrosion. Understanding the origin of these microstructural changes and their subsequent impact upon the resilience of the clad is an important part in the management of the stored fuel.

This project will use a combination of atomic scale and microstructure simulation to refine the existing models and develop a new predictive model of the radiation induced segregation (RIS) in compositions and conditions relevant to UK AGR cladding. The models will improve our understanding of the process of RIS and reduce the uncertainty when making prediction of RIS under new reactor conditions.

The project is in collaboration with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and National Nuclear Laboratory and the successful candidate will be required to work closely with leading academic and industry researchers within these areas.

This is a fully-funded studentship including full tuition fees (UK/EU/International) plus stipend (based upon the applicable UKRI rate at the point of the award) and additional allowances.


Full tuition fees, stipend of £17,668 per year and additional allowances for conferences.


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Candidate specification 

  • A bachelor’s (honours) degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum classification of 2:1 and a minimum mark of 60% in the project element (or equivalent), or an equivalent award from an overseas institution.
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within 3.5 years
  • An adequate proficiency in English must be demonstrated by applicants whose first language is not English. The general requirement is a minimum overall IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four sections, or the TOEFL iBT test with a minimum overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in each of the four sections.

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Additional requirements
  • A first degree in maths, physics, chemistry or materials or a closely-related discipline is essential.

How to apply

All applications require a covering letter and a 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

To find out more about the project please contact Michael Fitzpatrick

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