Neil Hyatt

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Neil Hyatt is chair in Radioactive Waste Management and Professor of Nuclear Materials Chemistry at The University of Sheffield.

Pro-new nuclear views

Letter to UK Government urging speedier negotiations with EDF Energy

In April 2013 Hyatt was one of 18 signatories to an open letter to the editor of the Sunday Telegraph arguing that 'Nuclear energy brings significant public health and environmental benefits'. It pushed the case that 'building a fleet of new nuclear power stations rather than one reactor at a time will lead to considerable economies of scale and lower costs for consumers. It will also provide the reliable, secure, low-carbon energy urgently needed in this country. However, we are becoming increasingly concerned at the apparent slow progress of negotiations between the Government and EDF Energy for Hinkley Point C, and we fear this aspiration could be undermined if a deal on the pioneer project is not resolved satisfactorily'.[1] Hyatt's name appearing alongside prominent scientific advocates of nuclear power including David King the former Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government, Dame Sue Ion, Independent Consultant, Dr Malcolm Grimston, Honorary Senior Research Fellow, ICEPT Imperial College, Professor Simon Biggs FREng Professor of Particle Science & Engineering University of Leeds, Professor Jon Billowes, Professor of Nuclear Physics The University of Manchester, Professor Colin Boxall The Lloyd's Register Foundation Chair in Nuclear Engineering and Decommissioning Lancaster University and David Cope of Cambridge University.

August 2013 leaks at Fukushima

To keep up with the rate at which radioactive cooling water is accumulated, TEPCO have opted to use containment tanks incorporating plastic seals. Seepage from these joints was the cause of the latest leak of radioactive water.
TEPCO need to develop a strategy to remove the residual contamination from this water so that it can be safely discharged under environmental regulations, and prevent it from accumulating in storage tanks. This could be achieved by further treatment using very selective ion exchange materials; these compounds take up the harmful radioactive elements from the water replacing them with non-radioactive species. This clever piece of chemistry is widely used in washing detergents, for example, where the chemical elements causing hard water are replaced with benign alternatives. [2]




  1. Sir David King et al The Government should not delay on its nuclear power plans; Negotiations over Hinkley Point C are going too slowly April 21, 2013 Sunday 6:59 AM GMT
  2. expert reaction to the radioactive water leak at Fukushima, Science Media Centre, 21 August 2013, acc 27 August 2013
  3. expert reaction to the radioactive water leak at Fukushima, Science Media Centre, 21 August 2013, acc 27 August 2013