National Nuclear Laboratory

NDA PhD Bursary – (F) Sustainability

(F.1) Balancing pace, priority and sustainability and the consideration of intergenerational equity to drive the NDA mission

The NDA’s mission is forecast to last over a century. NDA would like to explore intergenerational equity considerations in relation to balancing the pace and priorities of civil nuclear decommissioning, considering the various impacts at the local, regional and national community scales.

(F.2) Calculating lifecycle carbon emissions from decommissioning

Whilst several studies have compared the carbon emissions of electricity generation for different types of nuclear and non-nuclear power production, little is known about the full lifecycle carbon cost including historic and forecast decommissioning activities. Research could focus on:

  • Calculating emissions from operation and decommissioning of Calder Hall, Magnox sites and AGR sites.
  • Emissions to date from all the legacy and research sites.
  • Aiming to find a life cycle assessment (LCA) CO2 figure for each unit of energy from Magnox reactors whilst decoupling all non-power factors like defence, research, etc.
  • Comparison to decommissioning of other energy technologies.

(F.3) Sustainability in decommissioning and the contribution to trade and HMG agendas

Considering the national drive to reach Net Zero by 2050, sustainability will be a key factor in future decommissioning activities. NDA are interested in research pertaining to tools, techniques and processes that can be used to embed sustainability into nuclear decommissioning, bringing in experience and learning from other sectors where appropriate and considering any unique challenges to nuclear. How can nuclear legacies be transformed into opportunities for sustainable development which contribute to trade and align with HMG agendas?

(F.4) Sustainability leadership and a culture of leadership in large organisations

To enact a culture of sustainability within an organisation, the concept must be embedded at all levels of leadership. NDA are interested in research on how to develop an instinctive and consistent understanding of sustainability which allows informed decision making, personally and professionally, expediating leadership at all levels within the nuclear industry, across remote sites and in an aging demographic.

(F.5) Sustainability and social impact benefits of non-monetary investments in communities

Nuclear decommissioning activities often impact local communities beyond direct cash flow into the local economies, for example through improvements to education and skills, research and development, specialist supplier developments and utilisation as a show case. Research is required to identify and develop approaches for assessing the sustainability and social impact benefits of non-monetary investments in communities. This could include comparison of nuclear sites to other sectors, local community programs etc. especially those linked to energy or use of natural resources. Any learning from experience and how it might be applied to the nuclear sector should also be considered.

(F.6) Understanding attitudes and behaviours that underpin culture and define environments that impact on inequalities

The nuclear sector workforce is often cited as lacking diversity, especially at rurally located sites. We are interested to explore factors that influence diversity and inclusion including:

  • Structures and culture: challenging organisational and societal barriers to entry for under- represented groups into the nuclear sector.
  • Employee perceptions on managing diversity in the workplace.
  • Understanding senior leaders influence on setting tone and culture and the impact on diversity and inclusion.
  • Bias? Is it really unconscious and how it might be impacting recruitment decisions? How  might it be mitigated?
  • Engaging the disenfranchised majority to see the benefits of diversity and inclusion.

To apply for the scheme, please click here.