Megan’s DPhil research was part of an EPSRC-funded project linking microstructure to neutron irradiation defects in advanced manufacture of steels. The project involved high levels of collaboration in the UK and abroad including Imperial College and the University of Manchester (providing atomic-scale modelling and high-resolution microscopy respectively),the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Rolls-Royce and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Her role within the project was to utilise APT to investigate nanoscale solute clustering behaviour in SA508 steels following neutron irradiation.
Megan has now moved to a slightly different area of nuclear research, working under Professor Dave Armstrong and Professor Michael Moody as PDRA, with the aim of characterising novel ODS Ni alloys for use in next-generation molten salt reactors (MSRs). With high corrosion resistance and high temperature strength, Ni alloys are a clear frontrunner for use in the harsh environments of MSRs, however, He embrittlement under irradiation is an outstanding issue. In this work, the aim is to develop an oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) nickel alloy, whereby He produced through transmutation reactions is trapped at oxide interfaces, thus limiting He grain boundary embrittlement. This project is US-UK funded, and part of a collaboration with North Carolina State University (NC State), University of California-Berkeley (UC-Berkeley), the University of Idaho (U of I), and Idaho National Laboratory (INL).