National Nuclear Laboratory


Monday 16 November 2020

Stephanie is the Pride of Europe!

We are delighted to announce that NNL Senior Research Technologist, Dr Stephanie Thornber, has been named as the 2020 winner of the European Nuclear Society’s prestigious High Scientific Council (HSC) PhD award.

Stephanie was selected as the UK entrant to the Europe-wide competition in March, after applying through the Nuclear Institute. Entries were reviewed by the 22 members of the HSC, and the final four candidates were invited to present their work at the final stage of the competition last week.

Stephanie’s 20min presentation covered her PhD research and her work at NNL in the field of plutonium disposition, describing her PhD developing zirconolite glass-ceramics for Pu immobilization and the use of hot isostatic pressing as the thermal treatment technology for consolidating the materials. She also highlighted the impact of her research by showcasing the development of active facilities at NNL to progress the technology readiness level of HIP and of ceramic wasteforms for actinide disposition in the UK.

Following her presentation, there was a 20 minute Q&A session with HSC members, before Stephanie was named as the overall winner of the competition.
Stephanie said:

“I am honoured to receive the award and such positive feedback from the High Scientific Council. I am proud of my PhD research and the work I do at NNL and it’s a wonderful feeling to receive such high praise and recognition from the respected nuclear community. I’m grateful to NNL, the NDA and The University of Sheffield who supported my application to the competition, to the Nuclear Institute for selecting my application as the UK entrant and to the High Scientific Council for their comments and for the opportunity to accept the award.”

More details of Stephanie’s win can be found here, and it’s hoped she will be able to receive her award at an official ceremony as part of an international conference next year. She and the other finalists will be invited to present their work at the conference and receive diplomas from the High Scientific Council.