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Nuclear Energy

Nuclear research within the energy initiative is carried out across a number of departments and research groups at the University of Cambridge.

Research areas include:

  • Reactor Waste and Deep Geological Disposal of Waste, including investigations into the subsurface geophysics of deep geological disposal sites.
  • Integration with Energy and Energy Related Networks, especially for new fusion and fission reactor concepts.
  • New Reactor Systems for both electricity and heat production.  This area combines technical investigations with policy and finance-related research.
  • Nuclear Policy and Energy Security, including issues relating to the global expansion of nuclear energy while taking into account security, safety, finance and regulatory concerns.
  • Radiation Damage and New Materials, including both modelling and experimental investigations into materials for power reactors and storage containers.

Some key research centres include:


We collaborate with industrial partners and are also actively involved in increasing both energy awareness and public understanding of the opportunities and challenges in nuclear energy.

Please visit individual faculty profiles to learn more about their research in the nuclear energy theme.  The lead for nuclear energy is .

People specializing in this area

Principal Investigators

Professor Emilio Artacho

Theoretical simulation of radiation damage in materials towards predicting their durability

Professor Sir Harry Bhadeshia

Phase Transformations in steel

Professor Tony Cheetham

Functional Inorganic and Hybrid Materials

Prof Gábor Csányi

Atomistic simulation, particularly in multiscale modelling that couples quantum mechanics to larger length scales

Professor Laura Diaz Anadon

Analysing tradeoffs between different nuclear reactor designs (large scale Gen. III/III+, Gen. IV and small and modular reactors). Design dependence on policy decisions. Focus on the USA and European Union.

Professor Ian Farnan

Material durability in nuclear waste disposal

Professor Derek Fray, FRS, FREng

1.  Electro-deoxidation of oxides of radioactive elements in molten salts to aid the recycling of used oxide fuel rods.

2.  Electrochemical reduction of uranium oxides, carbides and nitrides in molten salts

Professor Bartlomiej Andrzej Glowacki

Development of superconducting materials for ITER and DEMO reactor

Professor Lindsay Greer

Development of teaching materials on materials for nuclear power generation.

Professor James Jackson

Geophysicist investigating how the continents are deforming today in areas of active plate tectonic movement

Professor Robert Mair

Underground Construction, Urban Infrastructure Renewal and Innovative Sensor Technologies for Infrastructure Monitoring

Dr. Mick Mantle

The development and application of quantitative multi-nuclear magnetic resonance techniques to problems encountered in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Professor Richard Needs

Complex systems such as surfaces, interfaces, defects, and clusters, mainly studying structural properties, including phase transitions and excitation energies

Dr. Nikos Nikiforakis

Scientific computing, computational fluid dynamics, Riemann problem based methods for systems of nonlinear inhomogeneous hyperbolic equations, adaptive mesh refinement.

Dr Geoff Parks

Analysis and design of nuclear reactor systems

In-core nuclear fuel management optimisation

Professor Mike Payne, FRS

First principles total energy calculations. Author of CASTEP code, co-author of ONETEP code.

Professor Simon Redfern

Mineral Dynamics

Tony Roulstone

Economics and safety of nuclear power systems

Advanced fuels & systems

Small reactors

International safety licensing & regulation

Professor Ekhard Salje

Mesoscopic Phenomena in Minerals

Dr Simon Taylor

Financing of new nuclear power stations