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Durability assessment of innovative binders for radioactive waste immobilization

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Managing and containing radioactive waste is a crucial challenge at the intersection of nuclear energy and environmental protection. In Europe, handling sizable volumes of waste demands rigorous protocols before disposal, especially for low- and intermediate-level radioactive materials. These encompass diverse forms: solid substances like reactive metals and incineration ashes, as well as different types of liquids.

Traditionally, cementation has been a go-to method for immobilizing waste. Yet, evolving environmental standards and concerns over the lasting containment of radioactive materials are prompting a reevaluation of these methods. Initiatives such as the European PREDIS project have explored alternative matrices like geopolymers and blended cements. However, further research is essential, particularly regarding the endurance of these waste forms under diverse environmental conditions.

Furthermore, the cement industry, aiming to reduce its environmental impact, is moving away from binders with high clinker content, such as OPC CEM I. Moreover, the availability of supplementary materials like fly ash and blast-furnace slag is expected to decrease. Conversely, newer cement types like CEM VI and LC3 show promise for creating eco-friendly cement matrices, aligning with circular economy principles.

Hence, it's crucial to rigorously test the performance of these innovative cement types in anticipation of their widespread industrial use. This PhD research project is dedicated to evaluating the durability of purpose-designed novel cements and geopolymers for immobilizing radioactive waste. It emphasizes assessing their long-term performance, from laboratory experiments to real-world industrial applications, across various environmental conditions. This research aims to pave the way for safer and more sustainable management of radioactive waste in the future.

The minimum diploma level of the candidate needs to be

  • Master of sciences

The candidate needs to have a background in

  • Construction and building materials, Materials science

Estimated duration

4 years

Expert group

Waste and Disposal

SCK CEN Mentor

Frederickx Lander
lander.frederickx [at]
+32 (0)14 33 32 52

SCK CEN Co-mentor

Phung Quoc Tri
quoc.tri.phung [at]
+32 (0)14 33 32 40


Cizer Özlem
ozlem.cizer [at]


Pontikes Yiannis
yiannis.pontikes [at]