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Senior Research Associate/Research Associate in Molten Salt Properties and Associated Phases.

Salary:   £28,756 to £40,927
Closing Date:   Monday 18 October 2021
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  A3497-R

We wish to appoint a talented researcher to undertake advanced research in the field of Molten Salt Reactor technology, part of the collaborative project “Defining a Draft for a Zero Power Reactor Experiment for Molten Salt Reactors (0P-MSR)” funded under EPRSC EP/V027239/1. This is a 24-month appointment. 

The 0P-MSR project will investigate key aspects of Zero Power Molten Salt Reactor technology and will integrate novel methodologies; the project falls within EPSRC’s energy and materials themes of nuclear fission; materials for energy applications; development of new types of nuclear reactor fuel; and resource efficiency by reuse of waste as new resource. The development of a novel nuclear energy system also serves energy security and efficiency via delivery of clean, reliable electricity production infrastructure and reduced CO2 emissions. For the appointed candidate, joining the research team represents an excellent opportunity to contribute to this emerging and exciting topic area. 

The 0P-MSR project is led by Prof. Bruno Merk (University of Liverpool) and the Salt Chemistry part of the project is supervised by Prof. Claude Degueldre and by Prof. Sarah Green, Engineering Department at Lancaster University. You will work in an international environment and collaborate with top institutions and companies. 

Our aim is to perform R&D in MSR technology by studying the chemistry of the molten salt and solid salt systems that are integrated with zero power MSR. To bring focus, research into novel nuclear concepts and methods will be orientated around the case study challenge, namely the 0P-MSR concept.  

Your role will concern MS/solid salt testing to deliver relevant data of solid (room temperature) and liquid carrier salts and fuel salts as well as their mixtures e.g. UCl4,NaCl which will feed essential thermodynamic information into the required basic dataset required to perform robust modelling and simulation results. Uranium tetra- and tri-chlorides as well as alkali chlorides in sufficient amounts will be investigated in the analytical cells (TGA, micro-Raman) as mixed phases at high temperature (molten salts) and at room temperature (solid). These materials will be characterised for their stoichiometry/composition and fraction as well as other relevant thermodynamic data e.g. Cpi. The bulk density of the materials will be measured and relevant carrier-fuel salt mixtures (e.g. NaCl-UCl3-UCl4 in liquid and solid phases) will be determined.  

The work will be carried out using the state-of-the-art facilities at Lancaster University Engineering Department and in collaboration with Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland. It is highly desirable that you have experience in both phase characterisation and phase modelling (liquid - solid); experience and knowledge in molten salt redox; experience of Computational microscopy, 3D morphology and micro-Raman spectroscopy. We will offer specific training and support in any area that is required.  

The Engineering Department at Lancaster University has excellent research laboratories and associated research facilities (UTGARD laboratory for uranium chemistry). To support the experimental results and modelling requirements of this technology development project, the department also has available a comprehensive range of software tools, in addition to central computing services support.  

You must hold (or be close to achieving) a PhD in a relevant discipline, and related academic or industrial experience at post-doctoral or commensurate level is highly desirable.  

You must have excellent skills in interpersonal communications to effectively work in the project team. You will be actively involved in meetings, workshops and conferences. You will prepare high quality presentations, reports and journal papers in collaboration with the group. You will be responsible for specific tasks of the project, subject to tight deadlines.  

Lancaster University is campus-based and is situated adjacent to the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and proximate to another AONB and two National Parks in the north-west of England. Lancaster is just one hour from international airports at Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds. The town and the region are home to a variety of excellent schools and enjoy excellent public transport and national rail links. A wide selection of facilities is available on campus including a large variety of social facilities, eateries, a new sports centre, and a highly regarded pre-school centre.  

We are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis, as well as the Athena SWAN Charter, which recognises and celebrates good employment practice undertaken to address gender equality in higher education and research. 

Informal enquiries can be made to: Professor Claude A. Degueldre E-mail:

We welcome applications from people in all diversity groups. 



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Please note: Unless specified otherwise in the advert wording, all advertised roles are UK based.

The University provides an environment that strongly supports the individual needs of each employee, whilst promoting the importance of wellbeing for all our colleagues. We have a range of support networks available for our employees, and more information on these can be found on the ‘Working at Lancaster’ information page.


We are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis. The University recognises and celebrates good employment practice undertaken to address all inequality in higher education.


We warmly welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of their age, religion, gender identity or expression, race, disability or sexual orientation, and are committed to promoting diversity, and equality of opportunity.

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