Europe, Nuclear, Strategic Development

Framatome honours Oxford professor for nuclear research work

Nuclear equipment company Framatome yesterday presented its first Excellence in Nuclear Reactor Science in the UK Award to Professor Sergio Lozano-Perez of the University of Oxford in recognition of his significant contributions to nuclear science and research.

Minister Counsellor François Revardeaux of the French Embassy in the UK joined Framatome executives in presenting the award during a ceremony at the French Embassy in London.

“Nuclear energy is an important source of baseload, low-carbon electricity and a crucial part of both France’s and the UK’s pledges to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Revardeaux.

“Research and development are key to ensuring the development of nuclear energy and the safe, efficient operation of plants. I welcome Professor Lozano-Perez’s contributions to nuclear reactor science, which is incredibly important for our clean energy future.”

Throughout his professional career, Professor Lozano-Perez (pictured second left) has focused on improving the understanding of how nuclear reactor materials change in an operating reactor over time.

His accomplishments include determining that the material properties around the area just in front of a crack, known as a crack tip, in components like steam generators, can vary from other areas even when they are separated by just a few nanometres. He developed a reliable methodology to characterize the material properties of a crack tip using a transmission electron microscope and an atom probe, tools that can examine a component in great detail.

Professor Lozano-Perez and his team also worked with several manufacturers to develop improved instruments and capabilities that can detect differences in these small areas.

Currently, Professor Lozano-Perez and his team are characterising the alloys used in both the primary and secondary systems of pressurised water reactors. Their goal is to explain what causes stress corrosion cracking and its propagation. This will allow technology developers and manufacturers to create better alloys and models for predicting stress corrosion cracking.