Disruption Control Physicist

  • Abingdon Rd, Culham, UK
  • Full-time
  • Department: Tokamak Science
  • Salary: £33,297 to £46,293 + excellent benefits including outstanding pension
  • Confirmed Grade: Level 4 / Level 5
  • Site Location: UKAEA Culham, Oxfordshire

Company Description

By 2050, the planet could be using twice as much electricity compared to today. Are you interested in contributing and helping to shape the future of the world’s energy? If so, read on.

Fusion, the process that powers the Sun and Stars, is one of the most promising options for generating the cleaner, carbon-free energy that our world badly needs. UKAEA are at the forefront of realising energy from fusion, working with industry and research partners to deliver the ground-breaking developments that will underpin tomorrow's fusion power stations with the aim of bringing fusion electricity to the grid.

Who are we looking for?

We are seeking an experienced scientist with experience and a background in fusion experiments especially disruption control physics with a relevant degree or equivalent qualification. You will be joining at an exciting time for the UKAEA which has established an ambitious national programme that is exploring the options, challenges and solutions for accelerating the delivery of power from nuclear fusion: the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP).

While this position will be primarily focussed on STEP plasma modelling, appointees will have opportunities to work on modelling of plasmas in other tokamak devices, including the MAST-U spherical tokamak at Culham.

Job Description

What will you be responsible for?

  • Performing scientific tasks on identifying and characterising the sequence of mechanisms leading to disruptions, which are likely to be relevant for the STEP device.
  • As part of a team, developing models describing the physical processes in the various disruption paths, including working closely with those making 3D nonlinear simulations of disruptions.
  • Developing real-time tools for disruption avoidance, with the aim of testing these on present experiments.
  • Contributing to the development of disruption detection methods with adequate fidelity to allow the disruption avoidance methods to function.
  • Participating in experiments on MAST-U to test real-time disruption avoidance for scenarios appropriate to the STEP device.

At the higher level, you will also be responsible for:

  • Proposing and developing models describing the physical processes in the various disruption paths.
  • Planning and coordinating the development of real-time tools for disruption avoidance, with the aim of testing these on present experiments.
  • Planning and coordinating the development of disruption detection methods with adequate fidelity to allow the disruption avoidance methods to function.
  • Proposing and leading experiments on MAST-U to test real-time disruption avoidance for scenarios appropriate to the STEP device.

Qualifications

Essential skills, experience and competence required

  • PhD or equivalent level of experience in Physics or related area
  • Proficiency with programming languages, e.g. C, FORTRAN, IDL, Python
  • Proven ability to conduct independent physics research
  • Good oral and written communications skills
  • Excellent team-player with an outward facing work-ethos as he/she will work closely with scientists from around the world

Additionally, for the higher level you must have:

  • Postdoctoral experience in tokamak disruptions, with a record of publications and presentations in this area
  • Working knowledge of MHD modelling of disruptions and disruption mitigation methods
  • Overall knowledge of fusion plasma physics
  • Experience of considering safety as part of planning work

Desirable skills, experience and competence

  • Knowledge of fusion plasma physics
  • Knowledge of real-time control methods
  • PhD level of knowledge of numerical modelling of physical experiments
  • Proven ability to carry out detailed analysis of experimental and modelled data, use of suitable tools, error analysis, etc.
  • Experience in MHD modelling or disruption relevant research (e.g. detection, prevention, mitigation or runaway electron
  • Experience of considering safety as part of planning work
  • Experience of disruption or runaway electron beam generation physics is highly desirable.
  • Understanding of plasma control related issues and scenario physics is highly desirable.
  • Strong record of publications in a closely related field
  • Experience of supervising students or researchers
  • Experience of managing small to medium research projects

Additional Information

What we offer

  • A competitive salary  
  • A culture committed to being fully inclusive, supported by a Being Inclusive Strategy and Inclusion Ambassadors 
  • An Employee Assistance Programme and trained Mental Health First Aiders, with a full calendar of health and wellbeing initiatives 
  • Flexible working options including family friendly policies  
  • Emergency leave (paid) 
  • 30.5 days annual leave (including privilege days and 3 days between Christmas and New Year) increased with length of service 
  • Wide range of career development opportunities (e.g professional registration, internal promotions, coaching and mentoring programme)  
  • Outstanding defined benefit pension scheme  
  • Annual corporate bonus scheme  
  • Relocation allowance (if eligible) 

We welcome applications from under-represented groups, particularly from individuals from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds, including nationality and citizenship, people with disabilities, (visible and hidden) and women. Our dedicated Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Partner, with the support of our Inclusion Ambassadors, is actively promoting and advancing diversity and inclusion in the organisation to help make our organisation an employer of choice. We are easily accessible by car and are a 10 minute walk from Culham Railway Station.  

Please be advised that this vacancy may close earlier than stated if large or sufficient numbers of applications are received.

Please note all employees working at the UK Atomic Energy Authority will be required to complete an online Disclosure Certificate application as part of their clearance – The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks will show the details of all current criminal convictions (convictions considered unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) or will confirm that there are no such convictions.

Further details of the STEP project can be found at https://ccfe.ukaea.uk/research/step/.

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