Platinum Self Powered Neutron Detectors

Reference number: PPPR066


The Department of Physics at the University of Liverpool is seeking to recruit an outstanding individual to join the Nuclear Physics research group as a PhD student. The research project, a collaboration between the University of Liverpool and Sizewell C, will investigate the technical feasibility of using Platinum based Self Powered Neutron Detectors.


Measurement of the Neutron Flux is one of the most important parameters in ensuring a controlled reaction within a Nuclear Reactor. Self-Powered Neutron Detectors (SPND) are currently being used in various reactors across the world and are currently proposed for use within Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C. However, due to the Cobalt-59 used in the detector a large portion of the material will become activated (radioactive) over time. This results in the SPND needing replacement every couple of years. Furthermore, Cobalt-60 (the activated by product) is a high energy gamma emitter and as such the dose rates from the irradiated SPND’s will be high, presenting a challenge from a handling and processing point of view.


An alternative emitter material instead of Cobalt-59 is Platinum-195. This has the benefit of having a much shorter half-life than Cobalt-59 meaning it will decay to a lower waste disposal category during the anticipated interim storage timescales, thus not requiring long term storage on-site or via a geological disposal facility. The proposed research project will investigate the technical feasibility of using Platinum, along with the Safety and Environmental Considerations.


The successful applicant will participate in the design, setup and execution of experimental work and will carry out the analysis of data from these experiments. They will work on simulation packages required for radiation detector development and will have the opportunity to work closely with the nuclear industry. Experience with radiation detectors or scientific computing would be an advantage. You will receive an annual stipend and payment of tuition fees for 3.5 years.

Please apply by completing the online postgraduate research application form here: How to apply for a PhD - University of Liverpool 

Please ensure you include the project title and reference number PPPR066 when applying.