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Research engineer Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemical (THMC) processes in geomaterials

  • numerical FEM modelling of multi-physical coupled processes in geomaterials
  • feasibility of underground constructions
  • PhD in mining, geotechnical or civil engineering
Apply now

Underground constructions, challenges of the future

To test the safety and feasibility of geological disposal of radioactive waste in deep clay layers under real conditions, SCK CEN started in 1980 with the construction of a laboratory at 225 meters below ground level (HADES). Here, engineers test the safety and feasibility for building and operation of the waste repository: How can we build tunnels and side tunnels? Scientists perform research into the thermo-hydro-mechanical-chemical characteristics of clay and the interaction between the radioactive waste and the surrounding engineered barriers and host clay. How will the clay behave after excavation of the tunnels and the disposal of the waste? What is the impact of the heat-emitting waste on the clay formation? How can we study the stability of the galleries? Apply now for this job offer, and help us answering these questions.. 

Your duties as a research engineer:

  • contribute to R&D studies of Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemical (THMC) characteristics and processes in order to understand the THMC phenomenology of the different components of a geological repository. The focus of the RD&D is on the clay host formation and the cementitious engineered barriers as well as the interactions between these different components.
    • numerical FEM modelling of multi-physical coupled processes in geomaterials
    • interpretation of experimental results 
  • contribute to feasibility studies for the design of a future geological disposal facility. Focus on the gallery construction and engineered barrier system development.
  • report the results to external and internal clients through progress meetings, reporting and scientific publications.

To join this frontier, you'll need

  • PhD in mining, geotechnical or civil engineering 
  • good knowledge of soil and rock mechanics; notions of geochemistry is an added value
  • good modelling skills, knowledge of finite element modelling, like COMSOL or PLAXIS. 
  • good knowledge of computer applications (Microsoft Office, MatLab, Python)
  • a few years of experience in a scientific environment
  • excellent writing skills for the writing of technical and scientific documents (mainly in English: technical notes, scientific reports and scientific papers)


Annik Stessens
annik.stessens [at]