New Proposed Work, Awards and Research


Dr Matteo Pedrotti and Prof Becky Lunn have been awarded £143k by Nuclear Waste Services to fund a £4-year PhD project on the “Experimental characterization of Bentonite hydromechanical behaviour in high salinity environment”.

Bentonite is a swelling clay that is proposed for use as a barrier around high level waste containers within a future UK geological disposal facility (GDF). The UK is currently undergoing a siting process for a GDF, based on volunteer communities. Potential locations are up to 1,000 m beneath the seabed within 22.2 km of the coastline. At these depths and locations, water within the rock is highly saline.

This PhD project aims to provide an experimental data on the hydromechanical behaviour of compacted bentonite when wetted with high salinity water. We will create a micro-scale scale chemical and mechanical model of the bentonite-high salinity water interactions during saturation, to predict the ultimate permeability and swelling pressure of the bentonite within a GDF.


ANRC, together with Ontario Tech University supported Texas A&M University in a response to a US National Science Foundation call for proposals to create Global Centres addressing Clean Energy and Climate Change. If successful this will provide seed funding over two years to design an International Research Collaboration Centre and bid for full centre funding. CANDU Owners Group has provided a letter in support and UKRI and Canada’s NSERCSSHRC are co-sponsors. The proposal focuses on researching and developing globally deployable and resilient micro grids based on sustainable energy and de-carbonization strategies and integrating nuclear “micro reactors”. Social, political and economic factors as well as science and technology will be addressed by a multi-disciplinary team.