Matriculation Year: 2015
University of Cambridge
PhD, Earth Sciences
Currently, spent nuclear fuel has been re-processed in the United Kingdom to separate high-activity fission products from uranium and plutonium, thus eliminating the need for direct disposal of spent nuclear fuel (SNF). The planned early closure of re-processing facilities has meant that more than 7000 tonnes of spent nuclear fuel destined for reprocessing will now have to be disposed directly into a geological repository. In addition, the open fuel cycle, i.e. the direct disposal of spent nuclear fuel without further reprocessing is likely to be the dominant feature of global nuclear systems due to ample uranium resources. It eliminates spent nuclear fuel reprocessing, hence reducing the likelihood of nuclear proliferation of plutonium. For a successful open fuel cycle, further research in long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel is vital to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy a healthy climate and being safe from nuclear waste.
Researching on nuclear energy in the University of Cambridge, Beng Thye applies analytical techniques and theoretical modelling to investigate the alteration mechanisms of spent nuclear fuel as a function of radiation damage and aqueous processes. Specializing in solid state nuclear magnetic resonance, Beng Thye also employs techniques such as HR-XANES, XRD, SEM and spectroscopies such as Raman, Infrared, ICP-MS, ICP-AES and EDX in his characterization of uranium minerals and secondary phases that are formed in spent nuclear fuel disposal. His research has enabled him to collaborate with many distinguished research institutes in many parts of the world such as Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Washington), Institut de Chimie Séparative de Marcoule (France), Trinity College (Dublin), University of Bristol (UK) and University of Lancaster (UK).
Beng Thye is passionate about global developments in nuclear policy worldwide and have participated in international seminars such as 2015 ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Symposium on Nuclear Safety as an observer in the Singapore delegation helmed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Under the guidance of SNRSI, he has co-drafted a government paper on nuclear policy in China and is actively engaged in the development of nuclear energy in Asia.
“Cheap and abundant nuclear energy is no longer a luxury: it will eventually be a necessity for the maintenance of the human condition”- Alvin Weinberg (US Nuclear Physicist)