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Curtin and ANSTO to advance the science of nuclear waste storage

Media release

Curtin University of Technology has signed a four-year, $1.2 million agreement with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to conduct research into the storage of nuclear waste.

The project brings together materials modelling researchers from Curtin’s Nanochemistry Research Institute (NRI) with ANSTO’s renowned experts to undertake fundamental research into the design and implementation of nuclear waste forms.

(Left to right) Greg Lumpkin, Nigel Marks, Lyndon Edwards and Julian Gale

(Left to right) Greg Lumpkin, Nigel Marks, Lyndon Edwards and Julian Gale

Curtin’ Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Development, Professor Linda Kristjanson, said the University was pleased to be working with ANSTO on such an important research area.

“It will build on our existing ties with global leaders in nuclear research, including ANSTO and Los Alamos in the US, and will allow Curtin to conduct fundamental research into the safe containment of highly radioactive waste,” she said.

Professor Kristjanson said Curtin already had research capacity in the area with Associate Professor Nigel Marks, who had an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant to work on nuclear materials, and ARC Professorial Fellow, Professor Julian Gale.

ANSTO’s Institute of Materials Engineering Head, Professor Lyndon Edwards, said the collaboration would build national capacity in materials modelling that would be important for Australian science and industry and produce outcomes that further improve our understanding of nuclear waste.

“There has been a significant increase in global interest in nuclear power in recent years and more nuclear power plants are being planned around the world today than at any time in the past 30 years,” he said.

“New higher efficiency, intrinsically safer Generation IV reactor systems are also being developed which will require new nuclear waste solutions.
“By working with Curtin, ANSTO is ensuring that Australian science remains at the forefront of how to design, manufacture and store nuclear waste in a safe, economic and timely manner.”

The new staff member will be based at the $116 million Curtin Resources and Chemistry Precinct and will work under the umbrella of the Curtin Institute for Minerals of Energy (CIME), which was launched by Federal Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson in November 2009.