Research course

New Coupled Thermo-Hydro-Mechanical-Chemical Model for Nuclear Waste Disposal

University of Leeds · School of Civil Engineering

Entry requirements

Applicants must have a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2.1), or equivalent, in mathematics, physics, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering. If English is not the applicant’s first language, they must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

Months of entry


Course content

In the scientific theme of nuclear waste geological disposal, the biogeochemical, hydrogeological, thermal and mechanical processes in the subsurface system will be critical controls on radionuclides transport, and thus on the safety and environmental impact of geological disposal.

The strong interactions between these processes have been observed in experiments, however there is no unified theory, which can be used to study the couplings in subsurface system and provide smooth links between traditional disciplinary such as Geochemistry, Geomechanics, Geomicrobiology etc. This proposal is to develop a novel overarching and well-constrained theory for the coupled process in the system and generate new mathematical and computational modelling with the application on nuclear waste disposal.


· Creating/affecting the significant public policy of safety analysis in nuclear waste disposal as a result of the research.

Improving the prediction of the software industry in nuclear waste disposal by offering more accurate and complex mathematical equations.

As a starting lecturer at UoL and an Early Career Researcher, Dr Chen’s research has been international recognized: one of his recent research articles was awarded “Top 5 Highly Downloaded Articles in 2013” (according to Elsevier for IJES, 64(1-13)), and another article Dr Chen led the modelling part was awarded as the “Front Cover of Environmental Science & Technology” (Vol. 47, Iss. 23). Dr Chen has also obtained a number of funding both from industry and academy to support his research (NERC, R-Link (Abertay), Thingo Ltd, Rockware, ORS-Manchester, National Natural Science Foundation of China).

Further Funding:

· This project will be seed funding for NERC/EPSRC project which is in preparation.


· UOL: Dr Doug Stewart, Dr Leon Black

· The National Nuclear Laboratory: Dr Joe Small (Senior Fellow of NNL, existing collaborator), in collaboration of preparation for NERC project.

Research equipment

· Visual Fortran Computational Codes developed by Dr Chen

Keywords: Nuclear waste disposal, Modelling prediction, Porous Media

Fees and funding

This scholarship is part of Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship scheme.

This scholarship is fully funded covering fees and a maintenance of £14,254 in 2016/17

Qualification and course duration


full time
48 months

Course contact details

Dr Doug Stewart