Jacobs scientist paves way to net-zero carbon economy

30 August 2021

Jacobs scientist Professor John Stairmand is to lead UK research into materials for new nuclear reactors capable of powering a carbon net-zero economy. 

Prof Stairmand, who is based in Warrington as Technical Director, Technology & Cyber Solutions, will co-chair the Technical Advisory Board of SINDRI – Synergistic utilization of INformatics and Data centRic Integrity engineering – a government and private sector-funded partnership of academic and industrial experts. SINDRI’s task is to develop digital technology for the design, fabrication, and in-service assessment of nuclear power plant components.

“SINDRI is bringing together the UK’s foremost experts in materials, manufacturing and data science for the nuclear sector,” said Prof Stairmand. “By pioneering innovations that will make the nuclear power stations of the future safer and cheaper to build, operate and decommission, the project aims to make world-leading advances in structural integrity and materials science, and so take a huge step towards a net-zero carbon economy.” Professor Stairmand is the industry representative on the Technical Advisory Board while his co-chair, Fionn Dunne, Chair in Micromechanics at Imperial College London, is the academic representative.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng recently announced that SINDRI had been awarded £2.4 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, matched by £3.4 million from EDF as the lead industrial partner. 

The consortium of academic and industrial experts is led by the University of Bristol in partnership with EDF, the University of Manchester, Imperial College London and the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

The five-year research program will create seven new research roles, and incorporate eighteen PhD studentships, one of which will be funded by Jacobs at the University of Manchester.
In addition to the funding from EPSRC and EDF, the project has received around £2 million worth of support from the universities and other project stakeholders, including Jacobs, National Nuclear Laboratory, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Henry Royce Institute, and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

The partnership aims to support a transformation in the nuclear sector by developing an overarching digital framework, encompassing a suite of models that simulate the behavior of materials from their entry into service through to their end of life. The research will find ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs by moving from manual to digital processes of design, build and operation.

Courtesy of Jacobs.