Professor Neil C Hyatt

PhD, BSc

Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Director, Immobilisation Science Laboratory and MIDAS Facility

Royal Academy of Engineering and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Research Chair in Radioactive Waste Management

Co-Director, EPSRC Next Generation Nuclear Doctoral Training Centre

Professor Neil Hyatt

Full contact details

Professor Neil C Hyatt
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Sir Robert Hadfield Building
Mappin Street
S1 3JD

Neil Hyatt was appointed to academic staff in 2003 as Lecturer in Materials Chemistry. He obtained his BSc and PhD in Chemistry at The University of Birmingham and held research appointments in industry and academia, before joining the Department in 2001 as Senior Research Fellow in the BNFL Immobilisation Science Laboratory.

Neil is a recognised authority on radioactive waste management and was appointed to a Royal Academy of Engineering research chair in 2011, supported by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

He served as Head of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering from 2015-18, leading the Department to outstanding success, achieving 100% student satisfaction, 100% student employability and a record high annual research income of £23M in 2017.

Research interests

Radioactive waste management and disposal
Our focus is on developing strategy, materials, processes and policy to support the safe, timely and efficient clean up of the UK radioactive waste legacy. A key aspect of our research is the design, manufacture and performance assessment of glass and ceramic materials for the immobilisation of plutonium residues, legacy intermediate-level wastes, and high-level wastes from reprocessing operations. We work closely with industrial organisations, including Sellafield Ltd., the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and National Nuclear Laboratory to address real-world challenges of radioactive waste management. Our work has supported the development of a thermal treatment strategy by Sellafield Ltd. and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the acceptance of vitrified intermediate-level wastes in conceptual designs for the UK Geological Disposal Facility.

Advanced nuclear materials
Research is focused on the development of new materials and processes for application in future nuclear fission and fusion fuel cycles. We are currently developing novel processing methods for advanced cermet fuels with application in naval reactor concepts, ceramic clad materials for accident tolerant nuclear fuels, and the application of molten salts technology to reprocessing of nuclear fuels. We are also working on new waste management strategies for future fuel cycles, to reduce the ultimate geological disposal footprint.

Structure-property relations in mixed metal oxides
Research is focused on the study of structure-property relationships in perovskite-related oxides showing a range of useful physical properties such as high-temperature superconductivity, colossal magnetoresistance and anisotropic magnetic exchange. Recent work has investigated structure-property relationships in layered perovskite ferroelectric oxides and oxide-fluorides.

Research associates
Dr Martin Stennett (Ceramic wasteforms)
Dr Claire Corkhill (Nuclear geochemistry)
Dr Amy Gandy (Radiation effects in nuclear materials)

Visiting research fellow
Dr Ewan Maddrell (National Nuclear Laboratory)



Journal articles


Conference proceedings papers


  • Hyatt NC (2017) Written Evidence: House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology Committee Inquiry on Priorities for Nuclear Research and Technologies View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download


  • Provis J, Bernal S, Corkhill C, Collier N, Kinoshita H, Hyatt N, Gardner L, Chavda M, Mobasher N, Walling S , Hussein O et al (2014) Cements@Sheffield - Recent advances in cement matrices for nuclear waste immobilisation in the UK context. IGDTP - Geodisposal 2014. Manchester, UK.. RIS download Bibtex download


  • Hyatt NC (2018) Written evidence prepared for: The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee's inquiry on Draft National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Project students
Valentin Lejeune (High temperature behaviour of novel cements)
Philip O’Connor (Spark plasma sintering of advanced ceramics)
Andrew Price (Processing of magnesium aluminosilicate glasses)
Yeudong Yu (Thermal treatment of radioactive sludge)

Research students
Daniel Crean (Geochemistry and remediation of DU contamination at MOD Eskmeals)
Nate Cassingham (Dissolution mechanisms of UK HLW glass)
Jonathan Squire (Ceramic processing for immobilisation of plutonium residues)
Robert Shaw (Dust scrubber chemistry at the Sellafield Waste Vitrification Plant)
Kris James (Reactor concepts for civil nuclear marine applications)
Paul Heath (Hot isostatic pressing of radioactive wastes)
Laura Gardner (Radiation stability of novel cementing systems)
Laura Casey (Ion beam irradiation studies of ceramics for actinide disposition)
Daniel Bailey (Ceramic wasteforms for future fuel cycles)
Stephanie Thornber (Processing of glass-ceramics for plutonium residues)
Luke Boast (Thermal treatment of plutonium contaminated materials)
Marika Hietala (Socio-economics, policy and strategy in nuclear decommissioning)

Professional activities
  • Royal Academy of Engineering & NDA Research Chair in Radioactive Waste Management.
  • Member of Steering Group for EPSRC DISTINCTIVE Consortium.
  • Chair of MRS Symposium on Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management XXXVI, 2012.
  • Pfeil Award of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, 2012.
  • Chair of International Scientific Advisory Committee, for the MRS Symposium on Scientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management.
  • >30 invited presentations since 2011, including ACS Spring Meeting, San Diego, 2012; British Embassy, Tokyo, 2012; Materials Chemistry 11, Warwick, 2013.

Neil has is active in public and media engagement, providing expert commentary on nuclear energy issues and supporting the public understanding of science.

He worked with designer Zoe Papadopoulou, to co-create the interactive Nuclear Dialogues installation with the Nuclear First DTC. The exhibit was shown at the EPSRC Impact! Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art, displayed in the Wellcome Trust window, and as far afield as the Bejing International Design Festival.

Neil also contributed to a BBC Radio 3 documentary 'Staying Bright – A Century of Stainless Steel', describing the important role of this material in the nuclear industry. Following the partial meltdown of the Fukushima reactors in 2011, Neil has provided expert comment in more than 20 radio and television interviews and over 30 news articles published in print and online. Highlights include: