The UK’s Radioactive Waste Management (RWM) has partnered up with the University of Manchester and the University of Sheffield to launch Research Support Office (RSO).

Based at the University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute, the RWM RSO will focus on providing evidence-based research to support the development of a safe and affordable engineered facility for the disposal of the UK’s radioactive waste legacy.

GDF aims to permanently dispose the higher activity radioactive waste

The geological disposal facility (GDF) is a highly engineered network of vaults and tunnels intended to safely and permanently dispose of the higher activity radioactive waste.

University of Manchester professor Katherine Morris said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Sheffield and RWM on this exciting new venture to build a community of researchers who will deliver the highest quality, relevant research to underpin the UK’s radioactive waste disposal programme.”

Researchers at the RWM RSO will undertake research on nine themes that cover advanced manufacturing, applied mathematics, applied social science, environmental science, geoscience, materials science, public communication of science, radiochemistry and training.

Over a period of up to 10 years, RWM will provide funding support of £20m to the selected teams within partner universities to undertake research within the nine themes.

RWM Research Support Office head Lucy Bailey said: “Through the RSO we will harness the best research expertise across the UK to build the knowledge and understanding required to underpin the safety case to deliver a GDF that deals permanently with the UK’s higher-activity waste.”

Additionally, the RSO will support the development of the next generation of geological disposal researchers.