The Keeping the Nuclear Option Open (KNOO) research consortium is a four-year research council funded initiative addressing the challenges related to increasing the safety, reliability and sustainability of nuclear power in the UK. Through collaboration between key industrial and governmental stakeholders, and with international partners, KNOO was established to maintain and develop skills relevant to nuclear power generation. Funded by a research grant of £6.1M from the “Towards a Sustainable Energy Economy Programme” of the UK Research Councils, it represents the single largest university-based nuclear research programme in the UK for more than 30 years. The programme is led by Imperial College London, in collaboration with the universities of Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff and the Open University. These universities are working with the UK nuclear industry, who contributed a further £0.4M in funding. The industry/government stakeholders include AWE, British Energy, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, Doosan Babcock, the Ministry of Defence, Nirex, AMEC NNC, Rolls-Royce PLC and the UK Atomic Energy Authority. Work Package 3 of this consortium, led by the University of Leeds, concerns “An Integrated Approach to Waste Immobilisation and Management”, and involves Imperial College London, and the Universities of Manchester and Sheffield. The aims of this work package are: to study the re-mobilisation, transport, solid-liquid separation and immobilisation of particulate wastes; to develop predictive models for particle behaviour based on atomic scale, thermodynamic and process scale simulations; to develop a fundamental understanding of selective adsorption of nuclides onto filter systems and their immobilisation; and to consider mechanisms of nuclide leaving and transport. The paper describes highlights from this work in the key areas of multi-scale modeling (using atomic scale, thermodynamic and process scale models), the engineering properties of waste (linking microscopic and macroscopic behaviour, and transport and rheology), and waste reactivity (considering waste hosts and wasteforms, generation IV wastes, and waste interactions).

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