The OU is to train a new cohort of PhD students to become a new generation of experts for the nuclear energy sector.
The research will also underpin a new apprenticeship scheme for the nuclear industry.
The OU is a partner in the £6.2M Doctoral Training (CDT) in Nuclear Energy Future. Engineering funded by the Physical Sciences Research Centre (EPSRC).
The CDT will train PhD students across the entire nuclear activity range and equip them with an awareness of how their subject fits into the wider nuclear industry.
In total, it is expected that the scheme will produce over 70 PhD graduates (40 EPSRC funded and 33 promised from industry) over eight years.
Academic partners are some of the UK's leading institutions for research and teaching in nuclear power: Imperial College London (lead) and University of Cambridge, University of Bristol and Bangor University. The programme has the financial and scientific support of the nuclear industry, including EDF Energy, Rolls-Royce, Hitachi-GE, Horizon, Atomic Weapons Establishment, National Nuclear Laboratory, Westinghouse, Radioactive Waste Management, Tokamak Solutions, Wood Group, Atkins, Fraser Nash and UK Atomic Energy Authority/Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.
“As well as undertaking research at our facilities, PhD students will be trained through a series of online blended learning courses produced with our distance learning expertise,” said Dr Salih Gungor, OU Senior Lecturer in Materials Engineering. “It is exciting to know that our technology will make it possible to train the future experts and academic leaders for the nuclear energy sector.”
The OU courses will be in: Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Waste and Decommissioning; Policy and Regulation; Innovations in Nuclear Technology; Materials for Reactor Systems; Nuclear Safety Management and Reactor Design and Operation. The courses will also be used more widely than just the CDT and support both industry continual professional development and the new Level 8 Apprenticeship schemes for the Nuclear Industry.
The first cohort of PhD students will start in October 2019.