M.Sc. in Waste Immobilisation

The M.Sc. in Waste Immobilisation is taught by members of the ISL with input from Nexia Solutions and Nirex.

The Programme for the MSc consists of eight taught units which contribute 120 credits to the programme.

Autumn Semester:
• Experimental Techniques [MAT6010, 30 credits, (50% Exam, 30% Laboratory, 20% CAW)]
• Skills Development [MAT6090, 15 credits, (50% Presentations, 50% Essay/Precis)]
• Waste Management in the Nuclear Energy Industry [MAT6820, 10 credits, (100% CAW)]
• Processing, Storage and Disposal of Nuclear Wastes [MAT6860, 15 credits, (80% Exam, 20% CAW)]

Spring Semester:
• Physics and Chemistry of Ceramic Processing [MAT6840, 10 credits, (80% Exam, 20% CAW)]
• Glass Processing and Durability [MAT6810, 15 credits, (80% Exam, 20% CAW)]
• Cement Processing and Chemistry [MAT 6830, 15 credits, (80% Exam, 20% CAW)]
• Industrial and Urban Waste Issues [MAT6850, 10 credits, (100% CAW)]

In the Spring Semester, MSc students start an extended research project (MAT6040) and this will extend into the Summer. The project contributes a further 60 credits, making 180 credits for the overall programme.

Course Descriptions

MAT 6010. Experimental Techniques.
This course will broaden student knowledge in the methods of characterisation of materials. 3 10-lecture courses are selected from a choice of 5 including X-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, thermal methods/spectroscopic techniques, ac impedance spectroscopy and crystal structure determination.

MAT 6090. Skills Development.
This unit concentrates on lifetime transferable skills including oral presentations, report writing, papers for publication, organising and chairing meetings, poster presentations, negotiation skills and interviewing procedures.

MAT 6820. Waste Management in the Nuclear Energy Industry.
The physics of nuclear reactors will be considered at an introductory level helping students to understand the principles of reactor design. The nuclear fuel cycle will then be introduced including how the fuel can be re-processed or packaged for future disposal. It will be shown how the various immobilisation technologies are chosen and implemented along with their socio-economic and environmental impact.

MAT 6860. Processing, Storage and Disposal of Nuclear Wastes.
This unit considers fundamentals of nuclear waste management. A range of topics will be considered including contaminants and radiotoxicity, NORM, background radiation, risks, regulations, classification, arising and characteristics, short-lived and long-lived radionuclides, principles of waste management, characterisation, pre-treatment, treatment, thermochemical technologies, immobilisation by cements, bitumen and glass, vitrification technology, Joule heated ceramic and cold crucible induction melters, metal matrices, immobilising ceramics, glass ceramics and glass composite materials, self-sustaining immobilisation, performance of cementitious, bituminous, vitreous and metallic waste forms, radiation effects in glasses and ceramics, partitioning and transmutation, storage and disposal, safety assessment.

MAT 6840. Physics and Chemistry of Ceramic Processing.
This course describes all aspects of the processing of ceramics. The basic principles which underpin the fabrication of ceramics and glasses from powders are discussed through the holistic total process concept. Topics covered include powder production techniques, calcination, powder characteristics, milling, batching and mixing, mixture behaviour and rheology, processing additives, particle-particle interactions, packing and compaction and shape forming operations. The densification behaviour on firing by solid-state, liquid-phase, viscous composite and viscous glass sintering is discussed and the resulting microstructures and properties defined. The potential use of ceramic materials (such as Synroc or glass composite materials) for immobilisation of nuclear and toxic wastes is examined.

MAT 6810. Glass Processing and Durability.
Glasses are used in a wide range of applications including waste vitrification. All glasses must have appropriate levels of thermal stability coupled with chemical and mechanical durability for the product application. This course will therefore examine the range of continuous and batch processes used for glass manufacture and the thermal stability, chemical and mechanical durability of the resulting products. A particular emphasis will be placed on processing, stability and durability issues that arise in waste vitrification.

MAT 6830 Cement Processing and Chemistry.
This module introduces students to the materials chemistry associated with the manufacture and use of inorganic cementing systems. Particular emphasis will be placed on reactions occurring during hydration and hardening of the systems and the impact these have on durability properties. The effects of additives on these properties will be examined with an emphasis on composite cement systems that can be used for waste immobilisation. While most studies will concentrate on composite Portland cement systems, alternative cement systems will be introduced for their advantages in immobilising specific radioactive and toxic wastes.

MAT 6850. Industrial and Urban Waste Issues.
This unit covers the broad aspects of reuse, recycling or immobilisation of materials including the UK and EC legislative framework on environment protection and pollution control. It introduces types of toxic wastes (e.g. dioxins, heavy metals), how they arise and the options available for their safe handling and control. These include landfill and incineration of urban wastes as well as issues in the large volume industries such as power producers, iron and steel, refractories, cement and glass and soil contamination and remediation technologies.