A £9.4 million research programme will link experts from the nuclear industry with academics to address challenges in dealing with the UK’s radioactive waste.

Known as TRANSCEND (Transformative Science and Engineering for Nuclear Decommissioning), the project will span 40 projects lasting up to four years each, helping to build the next generation of nuclear experts as well as developing technical solutions.

Cavendish Nuclear, Low Level Waste Repository Ltd, National Nuclear Laboratory, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and Sellafield Ltd are among the Cumbria-based companies supporting the £9.4m programme.

They will provide direct funding and/or supervisory expertise, use of facilities and researcher training.

Those working on the projects will include a mixture of PhDs and post-doctoral researchers from 11 universities, each with academic and industrial supervisors from within the industry.

The research topics to be explored by the TRANSCEND consortium align with the NDA’s key themes of integrated waste management, site decommissioning and mediation, spent fuel and nuclear materials.

NDA research manager Dr Rick Short said: “Our industry benefits hugely when high-level academic research is focused at some of the challenges we face in decommissioning our nuclear legacy.

“We welcome this collaboration and look forward to seeing the progress that these important projects will deliver.

"Equally valuable will be the development of knowledge and expertise for the participants – we hope their skills with be with us for many years ahead.”

Geoff Randall, senior scientist at Sellafield Ltd, said: “Previous programmes have prepared the next generation of engineers and scientist to face our challenges. We are pleased to be part of this exciting new programme.”

Principal investigator for the TRANSCEND programmes, Professor Michael Fairweather, of the University of Leeds, said: “This research consortium represents an important activity in reinforcing the industry-academia links that have grown significantly in recent years, and provides key support to underpin an academic skill base in this crucial area for the UK.

“The world-leading team of academic experts provides both depth and breadth across all areas of current research need, and the strong support of our key industry partners validates the usefulness of the research programme we will undertake.”