A collaborative £350,000 EPSRC research grant between the University of Birmingham, Advanced Science Research Centre, Japanese Atomic Energy Agency, Kyushu University, and the College of Engineering at Shibaura Institute of Technology was issued in November 2014 titled ‘Novel restoration materials for clean-up of radionuclides in the environment’

Despite tremendous technological and financial effort in Japan to deal with the effects of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident many challenges remain. The Government of Japan's Committee on Countermeasures for Contaminated Water Treatment considered existing and proposed measures and technologies to remove contaminated water, to keep out the inflow of water into the sources of contamination and to prevent leakage of contaminated water into the environment. 

These materials will not only assist in the clean-up at the FDNPP but will also be available for the abatement of any future accidents and may have a role to play in UK decommissioning activities and legacy waste clean-up. Within this project the goal is to evaluate the scope of the three sets of materials to provide key data and a platform to underpin further development and process implementation in conjunction with Japanese Chemical and Civil Engineers. 


Dr Joe Hiriljac, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, Dr Stephanie Handley – Sidhu, Lecturer in Earth and Environmental Sciences and Professor Lynne Macaskie, Applied Micro Biology from the University of Birmingham are collaborating alongside Professor Satoshi Utsunomiya, Kyushu University, Professor Shunichi Yamashita, Nagasaki University and Professor Toshiko Ohnuki, Advanced Science Research Centre to build on the work of an established internationally leading partnership for the development, characterisation and testing of three novel systems for immobilisation of radionuclides.

To celebrate this international collaboration, Professor Toshihiko Ohnuki, Leader of the Bio-Actinide Chemistry Group at the Advanced Science Research Centre, Japanese Atomic Energy Agency, gave a seminar at the University of Birmingham on Monday 2 – Tuesday 3 February on the ‘Environmental contamination and remediation at Fukushima: Progress, challenges and opportunities’ to both students and academics from the Schools of Chemistry, Bio Sciences, Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences and Physics. 

Dr Joe Hiriljac, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham said:

Professor Toshiko Ohnuki’s visit was a great opportunity to hear first-hand about the current state of affairs at Fukushima and ensure we target our cross College research project in the best way for our materials to be useful in the ongoing clean-up effort.