Previous events

Details of our previous events are shown below.

RWM RSO Annual Conference

15 – 16 September 2021

In September 2021 we held our first in person annual conference for the Radioactive Waste Management Research Support Office (RWM RSO) in Manchester. 

Event summary

The first RWM Research Support Office Annual Conference was held in Manchester 15-16 September 2021. Around 90 people across academia, industry, funders and regulators joined us in person for a fantastic 2-day event. We welcomed delegates from a range of UK universities, RWM and industry. It was the first time many attendees had been able to meet face to face and there was a wonderful atmosphere throughout the event as delegates took full advantage of the opportunity to catch up.

The opening day started with an update from John Corderoy, RWM Technical Director. John gave a fantastic overview of the RWM mission before introducing the GDF programme and how underpinning research is pivotal to the programme’s success. This introductory talk set the context for RSO updates and researcher presentations that followed. The first day also included a presentation from Oliver Hall and Lucia Gray at RWM outlining the Visualisation of System Information (ViSI) system that has been developed to manage a digital safety case for a GDF. Research funded by RWM through the RSO will be used to provide evidence for the claims made within the safety case. A final and particularly stimulating presentation by RWM came from Senior Scientific Advisor, Rob Winsley, who presented an update on the siting process and current progress. 

The second day began with a plenary presentation by Sergey Churakov, who joined us from the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland. Sergey presented An Overview of the Paul Scherrer Institute Laboratory for Waste Management Activities in Support of the NAGRA Research and Development Program. It was fantastic to get a Swiss view of geological disposal and some insight into the current research progress at such an established institution.

Ongoing research from across the UK that is relevant to a GDF was presented on each day in a series of technical presentations delivered by PhD students, post-doctoral researchers and research fellows. Technical research was also presented on posters by current PhD students. It was fantastic to see such a range of research on display, reflecting how complex a challenge it will be to deliver a GDF.

A key principle of the RSO is the RWM Subject Matter Experts working closely with academic Discipline Leads across broad themes. Each theme provided an update over the two days of the conference, including highlighting research priorities and upcoming opportunities.  Two significant upcoming opportunities are the PhD bursary call and a workshop on the Lower Strength Sedimentary Rock (LSSR) topic area. The PhD call will open in October 2021 and RWM expects to fund 10-15 new PhD projects to start in 2022. Details of all upcoming opportunities will be posted on the RSO website and sent out via our newsletter. Sign up here to ensure you don’t miss out. 

Open and transparent discussion was encouraged throughout the conference and time was dedicated to two poster sessions, a communication training exercise, and a dungeons and dragons style game that had been developed to reflect the nuclear industries relationship to national energy demand, the local area and wider industry. In between presentations, the conference venue was never quiet, which was wonderful given the previous 18 months. We look forward to seeing everyone next year!

A feedback survey remained open for a week after the event to gather views on both the conference and the RSO. This feedback will be taken on board to improve future events and how we work. Slides from the conference are available on the website, just scroll down to “Programme agenda and slides”.

Programme Agenda and Slides

Some slides have been omitted to remove unpublished data.

Day 1 – 15 September

09:00 Registration and coffee

10:00 Welcome – Katherine Morris (RWM RSO Director) and Lucy Bailey (Head of the RSO)

10:05  Update on progress of the GDF programme and forward vision John Corderoy (RWM)

10:25 Highlights from the RSOKatherine Morris (RWM RSO Director) and Lucy Bailey (Head of the RSO)

10:45 Questions to RSO/RWM panel

11:00 Break

11:15 Discipline updates 1

12:15 Technical presentations 1 – Chair David Copplestone

13:00 Lunch and poster session

14:30 Funding opportunities – Katherine Morris and Sam Shaw

15:15 Introduction to ViSI system, with hands on demonstrations available over coffee break – Oliver Hall and Lucia Gray (RWM)

15:40 Skills and Outreach in the RSO – Scott Heath (RSO Training lead)

15:45 Coffee – During this break there will be a Bus Stop poster communication exercise for PhD students

16:45 Bus stop posters review and feedback

17:30 Dalton nuclear futures game activity with pre-dinner drinks

19:00 Conference dinner


Day 2 – 16 September


09:00 Welcome – Katherine Morris (RWM RSO Director) and Lucy Bailey (Head of the RSO)

09:05 Fundamental and applied research on geochemistry of nuclear waste disposal in Switzerland – Sergey Churakov (Paul Scherrer Institute)

10:00 Siting a GDF, Rob Winsley (RWM)

10:30 Coffee

10:45 Technical presentations 2 – Chair Becky Lunn

11:45 Poster session: Overview of national research infrastructure including NNUF, DCF, and NERC facilities

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Discipline updates 2

15:00 Closing remarks, Neil Hyatt (University of Sheffield)

15:15 Coffee / close

RWM RSO Virtual Launch Meeting

16 – 18 September 2020

In September 2020 we held our Launch event for the Radioactive Waste Management Research Support Office (RWM RSO). 

Event summary

The RWM Research Support Office successfully launched online over 16-18 September. Over 130 people across academia, industry, funders and regulators joined us across the lively 3-day event. The majority of attendees were from academia, with over 10 UK universities represented. We also welcomed delegates from NDA, RWM, UKRI and other relevant organisations. It was fantastic to have such a broad community presence and we look forward to building on this solid start over the coming years.

“We were delighted to meet our colleagues, share examples of RWM relevant research from leading researchers, and explain the opportunities the RSO will offer with the PhD Studentship Scheme and the Gas workshops generating lots of interest and engagement. We look forward to the next steps and working with our community to identify, support and deliver new, underpinning and GDF relevant research in the UK.” Katherine Morris, RSO Director.

The opening day introduced the RSO and RWM through presentations from director Katherine Morris, RWM RSO lead Lucy Bailey, and Sheffield RSO lead Neil Hyatt. There was also a presentation on the RWM siting process from Jon Martin and two dynamic Q & A sessions. The feedback and engagement from the community is hugely appreciated and it will be an essential input to shaping our future activities.

The second day began with the launch of the first annual RSO PhD call by Manchester RSO lead, Sam Shaw. This stimulated a lot of useful contributions that will be used to inform and improve the first annual call intended to launch in autumn 2020. The rest of day two included three presentations from leading researchers Ian Farnan, Rebecca Lunn and Tom Scott sharing their technical understanding and, as importantly, how they built their working relationship with RWM. We then finished with an invited plenary from Allan Hedin from SKB who gave a fantastic overview of the history and future of the programme for spent nuclear fuel in Sweden.

The final day of the launch was an experimental online based research proposal development workshop focussing on “Gas generation, migration and reactivity in radioactive waste disposal”. Simon Norris (RWM) provided the technical background for the day. Participants split into four groups, based on the areas of interest that they had declared on registration. These topics were:

  • Gas Generation: Inorganic Processes
  • Gas Generation: Organic/Bio
  • Gas Migration and Reactivity: EBS System
  • Gas Migration and Reactivity: Geosphere/Biosphere

Each topic group had both an RSO academic and RWM expert facilitating discussions and completed a standardised form based on their research inputs. These were fruitful discussions providing useful content for RWM with the advice of the RSO to take forwards and develop into a funding call. Coordinating such a workshop over zoom was a novel experience for us. Despite technical worries, everything ran smoothly and the workshop discussions were worthwhile and insightful and feedback was on the whole very positive.

“It was exciting to see (albeit online) so many experts engaging with the RSO and sharing ideas that will help us shape our forthcoming research call.  This workshop was the first of its kind and exceeded our expectations in terms of number of participants and level of engagement.  A huge thank you to all involved.”  Lucy Bailey, Head of Research Support Office, RWM

We have a feedback survey that remained open for a week after the event to gather views on the RSO and the workshop element. This feedback will be taken on board to improve future events and the RSO. Slides from the three days are available on the website, just scroll down to “Programme agenda and slides”.

The RSO represents a significant investment in GDF research in the UK that will create many opportunities over the next five years and is a unique endeavour amongst WMOs in Europe. We look forwards to building on the fantastic amount of community interest we have received so far.

Programme Agenda and Slides

Day 1 – 16 September

09.30 am – Zoom waiting room open prior to conference

10.00 am – Welcome – Professor Katherine Morris (RWM RSO and The University of Manchester) Slides (PDF)

10.15am – RWM aim and mission – Lucy Bailey (RWM) Slides (PDF)

10.40 am – Introduction to the RWM Research Support Office– Prof Neil Hyatt (RWM RSO and University of Sheffield) Slides (PDF)

11.10 am – Questions to RSO/RWM panel (Lucy Bailey, Katherine Morris, Neil Hyatt)

11.40 am – Break

12.00 am – RWM siting process and research programme – Dr Jon Martin (RWM) Slides (PDF)

12.30 pm – Community discussion and feedback

01.00 pm – Close Day 1

Day 2 – 17 September

09.30 am – Zoom waiting room open prior to conference

10.00 am – Launch of RWM RSO 2021 PhD Project Fund – Prof Sam Shaw (The University of Manchester) Slides (PDF)

10.15 am – Questions

10.25 am – Research presentations from current RWM-funded projects:
The Effect of Compositional Differences on UK Radioactive Glass Durability” – Prof Ian Farnan (University of Cambridge) Slides (PDF)
Organic Fingerprinting of Groundwater to Determine Surface Water Origins” – Prof Rebecca Lunn (University of Strathclyde) Slides (PDF)
In-situ analysis techniques to understand the behaviour of waste and backfill materials in a GDF environment” – Prof Tom Scott (University of Bristol) Slides (PDF)

11.25 am – Panel questions and discussion

11.35 am – Break

11.45 am – Plenary:
Interplay between research and safety assessment in the Swedish programme for spent nuclear fuel” – Dr Allan Hedin (Manager of Safety Assessments at SKB, Sweden) Slides (PDF)

12:30 pm – Questions and discussion

12:45 pm – Close Day 2

Day 3 – 18 September – Research Topic meetings

Research proposal development workshop: “Gas Generation, Migration and Reactivity in Radioactive Waste Disposal

The day will include breakout sessions of smaller groups to develop particular research topics and proposal strategies along the following 4 themes:

  • Gas Generation: Inorganic Processes
  • Gas Generation: Organic/Bio
  • Gas Migration and Reactivity: EBS System
  • Gas Migration and Reactivity: Geosphere/Biosphere

09.20 am – Zoom waiting room open prior to conference

09.30 am – Opening remarks – Professor Katherine Morris (RWM RSO and The University of Manchester) & Lucy Bailey (RWM)

09.35 am – Plenary: Technical Introduction to Workshop Sessions – Dr Simon Norris (RWM) Slides (PDF)

09.55 am – Plenary: Workshop plans and outputs – Professor Katherine Morris (RWM RSO and The University of Manchester)

10.00 am – Breakout Session A – join first breakout group

10.05 am – Workshop Session A

11.20 am – Break

11.30 am – Join second breakout group

11.30 am – Breakout Session B

12.40 pm – Break

01.00 pm – Plenary: Way forward and next steps – Dr Simon Norris (RWM)

01.10 pm – Plenary: Reflection and closing remarks – Lucy Bailey (RWM) Slides (PDF)

01.20 pm – Close Day 3

Organising members

Professor Katherine Morris – Director of RSO and Chair (The University of Manchester)

Professor Sam Shaw – RSO academic Lead (The University of Manchester)

Professor Neil Hyatt – RSO academic lead (University of Sheffield)

Lucy Bailey – RWM RSO lead

Sabina Hawthornthwaite – RSO Project Manager

Key dates

4 August – Registration opens

15 August – Registration for conference and proposal development workshop deadline

30 August – Late registration deadline

16 – 18 September – Event

Contact us

We welcome opportunities to connect with the research community, industry and the general public.