Prof. Harry Eccles

Professor of Nuclear Materials

School of Physical Sciences and Computing

Maudland Building, MB055

+44 (0) 1772 89 3550

Prof Eccles is an international expert in separation sciences such as solvent extraction, ion exchange and biosorption for nuclear applications. He has worked in the UK's nuclear industry for more than 35 years holding senior positions in BNFL's R&D Department and then with the NNL. He has worked with the university for more than twenty years and is now employed part-time.

Prof Eccles is actively involved in nuclear research and is a member of UCLan Nuclear.

Full Profile

Educational Achievements:

Rotherham College of Technology (part-time) 1960-1966 ONC, HNC, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics
Sheffield Polytechnic (part-time) 1966-1968 Part 1 & 2 GRIC
Hull Technical College 1968-1969 Part 2 GRIC
Sheffield Polytechnic 1970-1971 M. Phil
Salford University 1971-1973 PhD

The position of Professor of Nuclear Materials in the UCLan Nuclear Group requires Prof Eccles further develops the nuclear research capability of the university and its networks with the UK nuclear industry and overseas. In addition the development of new teaching courses and participating on existing courses is also part of the professor’s duties. In less than three years with UCLan he has submitted four research grant applications to the EPSRC and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). These involve the development of novel separation technology for reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, selective decontamination of irradiated graphite of C-14, use of bentonite clays as corrosion inhibitors for deep geological disposal applications. He has secured two Ind. CASE awards from the NNL and three PhD studentships from UCLan (two international studentships).

He participates (as work package 1 leader) in the enen iii EURATOM project that is dedicated to nuclear education and training. This is a ~ €2million project with the aim of introducing a nuclear skills passport within the EU. This requires he closely interacts with NSAN, COGENT, UKNARIC and other organisations with the remit of promoting nuclear skills, education etc. He is also the co-chairman of the SNETP Education, Training and Knowledge Management Working Group, a pan EU group that recently published a report addressing skills gaps etc within the Member State countries.

He provides an independent consultancy service to nuclear organisations; his most recent commission (January 2012) was from CAMECO, Canada to assist in the training of scientists/engineers in solvent extraction and to resolve problems with its solvent extraction process at Blind River.

Other Professional activities:

Prof Eccles for more than fifteen years has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Dundee (Bioremediation/biodecontamination) and for the last ten years been a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in sustainable design at Edinburgh University (land remediation) in the Department of Infrastructure and Environment).

Other supporting information:

As the ex-Head of External Technical Links, National Nuclear Laboratory (retired April 2012) Prof Eccles was required to interact with external organisations with an interest in supporting and undertaking research primarily but not exclusively in the nuclear arena. UK organisations that fund nuclear research include the Research Councils in particular the EPSRC, TSB, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the HSE. In addition he has strong links with EURATOM and its framework programmes. Working with the EPSRC he contributed to the development of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy initiative (EPSRC’s 2nd initiative) and was responsible for writing the case for support and assisting in the implementation of the council’s third nuclear research initiative, Nuclear Waste Management. In addition to the Head of External technical Links he also undertook research (approximately 30% of his duties). Through his EURATOM activities he was successful in having irradiated graphite incorporated into the FP7 first call. The NNL was able to secure approximately £0.7 million from EURATOM and an equivalent sum from the NDA to participate in a £12 million project (CARBOWASTE) involving 27 other participants. He was responsible for preparing a significant part of the submission. This project commenced in 2008 and has 5- year duration. He was the leader of Work Package 1 that involves 10 other participants.

He has also worked with Prof Gadd (University of Dundee) on various biological nuclear projects for about 25 years.

In 30 years in the UK and EU nuclear industry he has developed an extensive network of contacts at both working and executive levels such as EPSRC, EURATOM, BBSRC and numerous UK senior academics. As a result of his initial research activities encompassing separation science and technology (solvent extraction, ion exchange and biosorption) he has attained international status as a leading expert. He has been invited as a guest speaker to many national and international conferences/meetings.

He is involved with several European research projects and provides an independent scientific advisory service to Brussels and in the past to the IAEA.

He was recently awarded NNL Impact Award, ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, he is the first recipient of this award.


EU Carbowaste project: Development of a toolbox for graphite waste management, (accepted, in press).

Strategic options for the management of waste irradiated graphite, Nuclear Waste Management conference, Tucson, March 2009

UK's Irradiated Magnox Graphite - Is It Intermediate Level Waste? Securing the Safe Performance of Graphite Reactor Cores conference, Nottingham 24/26 Nov 2008

CARBOWASTE - An integrated Waste Management Approach to Irradiated Graphite, Nuclear Decommissioning Conference, Sept. 2008 Liverpool University

CARBOWASTE - An Integrated Approach to Irradiated Graphite, Nuclear Futures, Sept/Oct, 2008

Solution chemistry of uranyl ion with iminodiacetic acid and oxydiacetat:a combined NMR/EXAFS and potentiometry/calorimetry study”, Inorg. Chem. 42 (4), 1233-1240, 2003

Complexation of uranium (vi) and Samarium (iii) with oxydiacetic acid: temperature effect and coordination modes,” Inorg. Chem. 42 (11) 3685-3692, 2003 

Synthesis and structural and spectroscopic characterisation, of uranyl (vi) malonato and substituted malonato compounds.2. Complexes with malonate, methylmalonate, ethylmalonate, diethylmalonate and phenylmalonate. Inorg. Chem. (10), 41, 2002.

Treatment of metal contaminated wastes: Why Select a Biological Process?, Trends in Biotechnology,462-465, Vol 17, Dec, 1999

Structural studies of uranyl dimethylmalonate complexes” J. Alloys Compounds, 271, 139-143, 1998

Metal Contaminated Soils-Is Natural Attentuation Acceptable?” Biochem. Soc. Trans.vol 29 657 - 661, 1998

Nuclear Waste Management - A Bioremediation Approach.” NATO ASI Workshop, 18-28 May, Dubna, Russia, 1998.NATO Science Series 2 Environmental Security Vol 53 Chemical Separation Technologies and Related Methods of Nuclear Waste Management, Applications, Problems and Research Needs, edited by G R Choppin and M Kh Khankhasayev.

More publications


PhD, Chemistry, Salford University, 1973

M Phil, Chemistry, Sheffield Polytechnic 1972

CChem, MRSC, Royal Society of Chemistry, 1968


Royal Society of Chemistry CChem, MRSC

External Roles

Member of the ENEN III project

FORATOM R&D Task Force member


Development of:

separation technologies for irradiated fuel

decontamination processes for nuclear wastes

bioavailability of radionuclides

education and training schemes for the nuclear industry


1 Decontamination of irradiated-graphite.

2 Continuous Chromatographic Separation of Metals

3 Bioavailability of radionuclides in encapsulated nuclear waste

4 Silica templates for selective extraction of radionuclides (SiTSER)

5 The Post Disposal Behaviour of C-14 in Irradiated Graphite

6 enen 111, European Nuclear Education Network Training Schemes

External Activities

Conference/Symposium Contributions (not refereed):

1. Royal Society of Chemistry;

Past Chairman of the Lancaster and District Section,

Chairman of the Process Technology Group

2. BBSRC Engineering and Biological Systems Network Group

3. CIA member of the Biotechnology Sector Group

4. Society of Chemical Industry:

Past Chairman of the Separation Science and Technology Group (on two occasions)

Member of the Council and Technical Affairs Committees

5 Member of the Editorial Board ‘Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange Journal’

6 Past Member of the Frameworks NW Advisory Board.

7 Member of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP) Strategic Research Agenda Working Group

8 Co Chairman of the SNETP Education, Training and Knowledge Management Working Group

Teaching Activities and Responsibilities

Input to:

NTEC 02 and 04

MSc Nuclear Safety, Security and Safeguards; Module 1 Leader

CPD Science & Technology of Nuclear Wastes; Co-developer of course.

Chemistry Undergrad year 3 lectures


Developed numerous meetings, conferences for the Society of Chemical Industry and Royal Society of Chemistry.