Environmental and Geological Disposal


  • Attractive to the next generation of people
  • UK has good capability in relevant areas that are not currently nuclear-focused but complementary (e.g. meteorological modelling; high performance computing; oil & gas)
  • This area includes nationally important technical challenges that must be addressed now
  • On the critical path for future nuclear development
    • Programmes exist and have clear aims (Geological disposal; Contaminated land; Emergency response)
      There are defined end users for this research


  • Current students are often not very quantitative
  • Demand from employers is much greater than supply of recruits
    RCUK model not sufficiently inclusive of the whole academic community and reduces diversity of training
  • Security clearance, nationality restrictions
  • Age profile of the current research community
  • Volume of current research training
  • Facilities: High barriers to entry (cost; safety case; training)
  • Gaps in capability to handle highly active samples
  • These very cross-cutting topics fall foul of boundaries within RCUK
  • Timescales of research projects vs. timescales of the problems
  • Lack of coherent representation within RCUK- need ‘ambassador’
  • UK programmes out of sync with FP8
  • BBSRC is not meaningfully engaged in nuclear research


  • To improve public understanding- communication
  • High demand for personnel • Diversification of research training
  • Facilities: Reorientate existing facilities to nuclear (e.g. meteorological models, high performance computing)
  • Access to underground research laboratories and ‘natural labs’
  • Develop better use of expert judgement
  • Geological disposal; Contaminated land; Emergency response; Measurement and monitoring;  Natural laboratories
  • ‘Ambassador’ within RCUK
  • Thematic research network
  • Long term (> 5 years) programmes


  • Public confidence
  • Security clearance & nationality restrictions
  • Sustainability of the supply of new entrants
  • High barriers to entry for new facilities (cost; safety case; training; slow, unclear processes)
  • Politics
  • Loss of trust in research- need for independence
  • Politics

This information can also be downloaded as a pdf file here