Gas generation from the radiolysis of water on uranium oxides and ThO2

This PhD will involve measuring the radiolytic hydrogen yield from water adsorbed surrogate materials for PuO2 and plutonium-uranium mixed oxides. Measurements will be made under gamma and helium ion irradiation. The effect of irradiation on the oxide surface will be characterised.


Powders of UO2, U3O8, UO3 and ThO2 oxides, and possibly (U,Th)O2 will be prepared (either at DCF, or at other UoM facilities and transported to DCF for irradiation). Controlled amounts of water will be adsorbed onto the surface. The hydrogen (and oxygen) production under gamma and helium ion irradiation as a function of water content will be measured. Variables that might affect the yield, such as specific surface area, radiation damage, co-adsorption of surface impurities (e.g. HCl or NOx) will be investigated. The surface of the oxide will be characterised before and after irradiation to better understand the changes occurring during irradiation. For example using XPS, Raman and IR spectroscopy.

Academic Lead: Fred Currell
Researcher: Chris Anderson
Location: The University of Manchester