Postdoc in nuclear safeguards with focus on verification of MYRRHA fuel
Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has 44.000 students, 7.100 employees and a turnover of SEK 7 billion.
The research conducted at the Department of Physics and Astronomy encompasses a wide range of physics topics, distributed over ten divisions. The department is located in the Ångström laboratory and employs nearly 400 people, 125 of whom are doctoral students. It offers a broad physics curriculum to undergraduate and graduate students, participation in nationally and internationally leading projects for researchers, and opportunities for partnership with industry and various outreach activities.
Description of the field: Nuclear safeguards is a research field that deals with measures aimed at ensuring that nuclear material is not diverted from the civil fuel cycle for use in non-peaceful applications. Within the field, activities are aimed at improving and developing instrumentation, measurement technologies and analysis techniques in order to verify, among other things, spent nuclear fuel, but also aiming at strengthening nuclear safeguards in future nuclear energy systems.
Project description and work duties: The MYRRHA (Multi-purpose hYbrid Research Reactor for High-tech Applications) facility in Belgium will consist of a proton accelerator and a subcritical reactor in an accelerator driven system (ADS), and its construction is scheduled to start in the coming years at the SCK•CEN site in Mol, Belgium. The reactor will be run on Mixed OXide (MOX) fuel (e.g. 30% Pu content) or Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) fuel (e.g. 19.75% 235U content). The high fissile content, possibly together with associated reprocessing activities, is expected to constitute a non-proliferation challenge for this type of facility. The aim of this project is to develop safeguards methodologies that are applicable to the operation of MYRRHA, but also benefit other Generation IV concepts. The research is a collaboration between UU and SCK•CEN and the postdoc is expected to be located primarily in Uppsala, but with possibilities of traveling to Belgium for short scientific visits.
In the project, the postdoc is expected to develop nuclear safeguards strategies and analysis codes beyond existing safeguards measures developed for light water reactors. A large part of the project will be conducted using Monte Carlo simulations since the facility is not yet in operation. Several non-destructive assay (NDA) techniques proposed for safeguards verification will be modelled, using as input the expected material composition and radiation (i.e. neutrons, gamma-rays) emitted by the spent fuel from the MYRRHA reactor. The output of the NDA techniques will be analysed using machine learning algorithms in order to quantify fuel properties such as irradiation history and fissile material content (e.g. specific isotopic composition). If possible, experimental validation of results will be included in the work duties.
The results of the research will primarily be published in peer-reviewed international scientific journals, and also presented at national and international conferences.
Qualification requirements: In order to be eligible for this position, the applicant must be able to show the following qualifications:
- A PhD in physics (preferably in nuclear physics, nuclear engineering or nuclear technology), or other research fields which are relevant for the research project such as data science, statistics and machine learning etc.
- Programming skills in e.g. Python, Matlab, C/C++.
- Excellent skills in written and spoken English.
- Ability to work effectively in a mixed-gender, multi-cultural and international environment and to promote team spirit.
In addition, before an employment, the university needs to ensure that the applicant can get access to nuclear facilities in Sweden and get a licence to use relevant softwares, e.g. MCNP.
Transfer of knowledge towards countries that did not sign the non-proliferation treaty or of which the immaculate reputation regarding peaceful application of radioactivity, scientific integrity or respect of economic rules is questioned in an international context is conflicting with SCK•CEN’s interests and values. Therefore, the analysis of the applicants will be on a case by case basis based on a continuous interaction with authorities such as the Belgian Federal Agency of Nuclear Control and the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Evaluation criteria: In the evaluation, emphasis will be put on the following qualifications:
- Scientific merits with relevance to the described research field.
- Experience of fuel depletion codes and particle transport codes such as SCALE, SERPENT, MCNP, Geant4 etc.
- Experience of modeling instrumentation and detector responses.
- Experience of using different simulation environments.
- Use and development of machine learning algorithms such as e.g. Principal Component Analysis, Partial Least Squares, Random Forests and Neural Networks.
- Ability to work independently and take personal responsibility for the progression of the project.
Periods of leave, such as parental leave, that may be taken into account should be stated in the presentation of personal experience and qualifications. The department is striving to achieve a more equal gender balance and female candidates are particularly invited to apply.
Employment conditions: The position is a 2-year appointment, and the postdoc will primarily devote the time to research. If there is a strong interest by the candidate, it is possible to investigate the inclusion of department duties (typically teaching) at a level of at most 20%.
Application: The application, written in Swedish or English, shall include:
- Personal letter
- Copy of doctoral degree
- List of publications
- One letter of recommendation
- Two references and their contact information
- Any other documentation that may be considered relevant
Uppsala University strives to be an inclusive workplace that promotes equal opportunities and attracts qualified candidates who can contribute to the University’s excellence and diversity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and from people of all backgrounds.
Salary: Individual salary.
Starting date: 01-02-2020 or as otherwise agreed.
Type of employment: Temporary position according to central collective agreement.
Scope of employment: 100 %
For further information about the position please contact: Sophie Grape, firstname.lastname@example.org, 018-471 5842
Please submit your application by 2 January 2019, UFV-PA 2019/4154.
Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? If so, you will find a lot of information about working and living in Sweden at www.uu.se/joinus. You are also welcome to contact International Faculty and Staff Services at email@example.com.
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Submit your application through Uppsala University´s recruitment system.
Placement: Department of Physics and Astronomy
Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months
Pay: Fixed salary
Number of positions: 1
Working hours: 100%
County: Uppsala län
Number of reference: UFV-PA 2019/4154
Last application date: 2020-01-02