Impact of flooding and erosion from extreme rainfall on EDF’s fleet of nuclear power stations


The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Net Zero Maritime Energy solutions (N0MES) has a 4-year funded PhD place available for an exceptional researcher. With the support of the University of Liverpool (UoL), Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and 33 maritime energy sector partners, N0MES PGRs will pursue new, engineering-centred, interdisciplinary research to address four vital net zero challenges currently facing the North West, the UK and beyond:

a) Energy generation using maritime-based renewable energy (e.g. offshore wind, tidal, wave, floating solar, hydrogen, CCS);

b) Distributing energy from offshore to onshore, including port- and hinterland-side impacts and opportunities;

c) Addressing the short- and long-term environmental impacts of offshore and maritime

environment renewable energy generation, distribution and storage; and

d) Decommissioning and lifetime extension of existing energy and facilities.


Project Description

The location of nuclear power stations make them vulnerable to a projected rise in the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall. Whilst major advances have been made in the prediction of coastal flooding and erosion risk, and in the assessment of the vulnerability and climate resilience of nuclear stations to these hazards, no such major advance has occurred for flooding and erosion hazards from extreme rainfall.  Thus no predictive modeling framework exists for freshwater flooding and erosion that can support sustainable, resilient management of nuclear power stations.

Changes to the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall need to be effectively and accurately accounted for in the design of nuclear energy infrastructure and assets through improved resilience measures and planning. This assessment is pertinent to plans for new build and operational power stations, as their lifetime from generation through to decommissioning and care & management stages takes them from the conditions of former and present climate into the realm of future climate change. Furthermore, regulators require the nuclear energy sector to use the most up-to-date assessment to examine the robustness of assets to future flooding and erosion.

This project will apply new modelling techniques that examine the vulnerability of operational power stations to flooding and erosion from present and future extreme rainfall. Risk modelling will apply models of flood and erosion hazard to determine the probability of impact and extent, the product of which will be probability maps of buildings and structures at risk. A hydro-erosion model will predict how much rainfall becomes runoff, how runoff is routed according to relief, and how resulting flows are then able to erode, transport and deposit sediment. Model outputs are fine scale maps of flooding, erosion and deposition, updated slope and relief, and runoff through time.

To provide an assessment of erosion hazard from changing event intensity and frequency, UK Climate Change Projections will be used to generate rainfall depth duration frequency curves and river discharge time series for the next 60 years.

Industrial partner: EDF



We want all of our staff and Students to feel that Liverpool is an inclusive and welcoming environment that actively celebrates and encourages diversity. We are committed to working with students to make all reasonable project adaptations including supporting those with caring responsibilities, disabilities or other personal circumstances. For example, if you have a disability you may be entitled to a Disabled Students Allowance on top of your studentship to help cover the costs of any additional support that a person studying for a doctorate might need as a result.

We believe everyone deserves an excellent education and encourage students from all backgrounds and personal circumstances to apply.


Applicant Eligibility

Candidates will have, or be due to obtain, a Master’s Degree or equivalent from a reputable University in an appropriate field of Engineering. Exceptional candidates with a First Class Bachelor’s Degree in an appropriate field will also be considered.


Application Process

Candidates wishing to apply should complete the University of Liverpool application form [How to apply for a PhD - University of Liverpool] applying for a PhD in Environmental Sciences and uploading: Degree Certificates & Transcripts, an up-to-date CV, two academic references and a supporting statement [maximum 300 words] detailing; what inspires you within this project, how your skill set matches the project, up to 3 examples showing your commitment to science, piece of science that excites you & anything else to support your application.


Candidates wishing to discuss the research project should contact the primary supervisor, Charlotte Lyddon  [],those wishing to discuss the application process should discuss this with the CDT Manager Matt Fulton [].

Tel. No. for Enquiries: 0151 794 3811


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Funded studentship

The EPSRC funded Studentship will cover full tuition fees of £4,786 per year and pay a maintenance grant for 4 years, starting at the UKRI minimum of £19,237 pa. for 2024-2025. The Studentship also comes with access to additional funding in the form of a research training support grant which is available to fund conference attendance, fieldwork, internships etc.

EPSRC Studentships are available to any prospective student wishing to apply including international students. Up to 30% of our cohort can comprise of international students and they will not be charged the fee difference between UK and international rate.