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PhD Thermo-physical properties of nuclear fuels for Molten Salt Reactors

Posted 24 May 2024
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Work experience
1 to 3 years
Full-time / part-time
Full-time
Job function
Salary
€2,770 - €3,539 per month
Degree level
Required languages
English (Fluent)
Dutch (Fluent)
Deadline
15 Jun 2024 00:00

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Job description

The molten salt reactor (MSR) was selected as one of the promising designs by the International Generation IV International Forum for the next generation of nuclear reactors. Running on a liquid molten salt fuel as opposed to the current generation of nuclear reactors, the Molten Salt Reactor technology provides a safe and truly innovative concept. Moreover, it can be coupled to a thorium fuel cycle, which produces less long-lived radioactive waste and allows a sustainable energy production, as thorium is three times more abundant on Earth than uranium. However, before the Molten Salt Reactor technology can be realized, a thorough safety assessment of all components of the reactor must be carried out.

One main challenge for the development of the MSR technology and its commercialisation in the near future is a thorough understanding and assessment of the thermo-physical properties (e.g melting temperature, heat capacity, density, viscosity, thermal conductivity) of the molten fuel salt during reactor operation. During irradiation, numerous fission products are generated, which will affect the chemistry and properties of the fuel. Understanding and modelling the irradiated fuel chemistry and properties is a strong requirement for the safety assessment. As part of the recently granted European project EUDURANCE, we are looking for a PhD candidate that will work on this challenging task.

The candidate will perform research combining experimental activities and thermodynamic modelling. Some of the key activities of the PhD project will include:

  • the development of a set-up to measure density of molten chloride and fluoride salts;
  • the synthesis and purification of relevant molten salt compositions;
  • the measurement of melting temperatures, heat capacity, density, viscosity and thermal conductivity of molten fuel salts;
  • the development of models for phase equilibria, density, viscosity and thermal conductivity based on the CALPHAD methodology;
  • the performance of application calculations and beanchmarking using the developed models.

The PhD project will involve a strong collaboration with the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Karlsruhe, Germany (JRC Karlsruhe, https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/about/jrc-site/karlsruhe). It is foreseen that the candidate spends 1 year at the JRC-Karlsruhe to perform experiments on viscosity and thermal conductivity measurements.

Requirements

We are looking for an outstanding candidate with a completed Master’s degree in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or a related field. Candidate should have an affinity for multidisciplinary fields of research and a hands-on attitude towards experimental work. Experimental skills and computer skills in thermodynamic modelling are also highly desirable. We expect creativity, flexibility and ability to co-operate within an interdisciplinary research group. Excellent communication skills, including good written and spoken English, as well as the ability to conduct independent scientific work are required. The candidate will be based for 3 years at the TU Delft, and for 1 year at the JRC-Karslruhe to perform experimental work. Delft University of Technology is a bilingual organisation; fluency in English is essential.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Program is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customizable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organize events to expand your (social) network.

TU Delft

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. Challenge. Change. Impact!

Department

The department of Radiation Science & Technology has unique expertise in using ionizing radiation such as positrons and neutrons for research and education. We have direct access to our 2.3 MW nuclear research reactor equipped with advanced beam-line instruments, irradiation facilities and radiological laboratories, and to the Holland Protonen Therapie Centrum including the proton beam research bunker. Our research focuses on materials science with emphasis on energy conversion and storage, health technology for imaging and diagnostics, radionuclide therapy and proton therapy. Innovative and sustainable nuclear energy is part of our portfolio as well. The department provides education to students in the fields of physics, chemistry and biomedical sciences. It counts about 20 PI’s, 20 support staff and 70 PhD students and postdocs.

De fascinatie voor science, design en engineering is wat ruim 13000 bachelor & masterstudenten en 5000 medewerkers van de TU Delft drijft. De Technische Universiteit Delft is niet alleen de oudste, maar ook de grootste technische universiteit van Nederland: een universiteit die continu op zoek is naar jou als (inter)nationaal talent om het onderzoek en onderwijs van deze unieke instelling…


De fascinatie voor science, design en engineering is wat ruim 13000 bachelor & masterstudenten en 5000 medewerkers van de TU Delft drijft. De Technische Universiteit Delft is niet alleen de oudste, maar ook de grootste technische universiteit van Nederland: een universiteit die continu op zoek is naar jou als (inter)nationaal talent om het onderzoek en onderwijs van deze unieke instelling op topniveau te houden. Met ongeveer 5.000 medewerkers is de Technische Universiteit Delft de grootste werkgever in Delft. De acht faculteiten, de unieke laboratoria, onderzoeksinstituten, onderzoeksscholen en de ondersteunende universiteitsdienst bieden de meest uiteenlopende functies en werkplekken aan. De diversiteit bij de TU Delft biedt voor iedereen mogelijkheden. Van Hoogleraar tot Promovendus. Van Beleidsmedewerker tot ICT'er.

Engineering
Delft
5,000 employees