Prof. Harry Eccles

Professor of Nuclear Materials

School of Physical Sciences and Computing

Maudland Building, MB127

+44 (0) 1772 89 3550

Subject Areas: Biosciences, Chemistry, Engineering

Professor Eccles is an internationally recognised nuclear scientist with specific expertise in separation science and technology. He has published more than 60 reviewed papers, assigned inventor to more than 15 patents and contributed to 5/6 books covering liquid-liquid extraction, ion exchange, biosorption. Before joining UCLan in 2012, he worked for BNFL/NNL for 35 years.

Full Profile

Professor Eccles joined UCLan in 2012 having worked for BNFL and then the NNL for more than 35 years. He was appointed Professor of Nuclear Materials to stimulate nuclear research at the university. He has secured more than £200K research funding since joining the university from various research councils and EURATOM. He has supervised PhD students (6) Master students and final year graduate students. He specialises in the development of materials that have high selectivity for radionuclides but also other cations. He is frequently invited to review papers and UK Research Council grant applications. He provides an independent consultancy service to nuclear organisations, the most recent to CAMECO (Canada’s major uranium producer) and employment agencies; He lectures to first year and final year chemistry students and to Master students involved with the nuclear fuel cycle.

He recently wrote a business case for setting up a Smart Materials Centre.

Whilst with BNFL/NNL he held senior positions in R&D departments, his final position as the External Technical Links Manager, which required him to engage with external bodies such as academia, companies, EU funding bodies etc. He was accredited with introducing BNFL to environmental biotechnology in the early-1990s that involved a team of more than 50 scientists and engineers, the majority working in 17 UK universities. In the late 1970s he was involved in the development of chemical flowsheets for the THORP reprocessing plantthe uranium purification cycle flowsheet was use for more than 25 years before the plant was closed late last year (2018).

He has assisted various organisations such as NSAN, COGENT, NDA, UKNARIC in promoting nuclear skills and education.

Prof Eccles for more than fifteen years was a Visiting Professor at the University of Dundee (Bioremediation/biodecontamination) and for ten years a Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in sustainable design at Edinburgh University (land remediation) in the Department of Infrastructure and Environment). He was for about ten years a visiting Reader in nuclear chemistry at the University of Manchester and for about ten years (~1995) the Chairman of a DTI/UK Research Council research committee (Biological Treatment of Soil and Water).

During his period at BNFL/NNL he was successful in securing more than £20M for BNFL and the various universities engaged with its research. Prior to his retirement from NNL he was presented with a NNL Impact Award, ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, he is the first recipient of this award.


 S. P. Rout, L. Payne, S. Walker, T Scott, P. Heard, H. Eccles, G. Bond, P. Shah, P. Bills, B. R. Jackson, S. A. Boxall, A. P. Laws, C. Charles, S. J. Williams & P. N. Humphreys, The Impact of Alkaliphilic Biofilm Formation on the Release and Retention of Carbon Isotopes from Nuclear Reactor Graphite. Nature, Scientific Reports 8, 4455, 2018

H, Eccles, A F. Holdsworth, R. Mao, G. Bond, and A M.Halman, Low-Temperature Continuous Flow Synthesis of Metal Ammonium Phosphates. Nature Scientific Reports, 2018.

H. Eccles, JD. Emmott, and G.Bond, Advanced Reprocessing – The Potential for Continuous Chromatographic Separations, J Chromatogr Sep Tech, Volume 8  Issue 1,141-146, 2017.

G.Bond, H.Eccles, JD. Emmott, and PC.Kavi, Reprocessing of nuclear fuel – an alternative to the PUREX process?   Society of Chemical Industry, International Ion Exchange Conference, Cambridge, July 2016.

L.Payne, S.Walker, G.Bond, H.Eccles, , P.J.Heard, T.B.Scotta and  S.J.Williams, Synthesis of carbon-13 labelled carbonaceous deposits and their evaluation for potential use as surrogates to better understand the behaviour of the carbon-14-containing deposit present in irradiated PGA graphite, Journal of Nuclear Materials, 470, 2688-277. 2016.

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View CLoK profile 


  • 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


  • Decontamination of irradiated-graphite.
  • Continuous Chromatographic Separation of Metals
  • Bioavailability of radionuclides in encapsulated nuclear waste
  • Silica templates for selective extraction of radionuclides (SiTSER)
  • The Post Disposal Behaviour of C-14 in Irradiated Graphite

Teaching activities

Input to:

  • NTEC 02 and 04
  • Chemistry undergraduate year 1 and 3 lectures



Development of:

  • separation technologies for irradiated fuel
  • chromatographic separation of radionuclides
  • decontamination processes for nuclear wastes
  • bioavailability of radionuclides


External Activities

Over the years, in addition to some research activities, have been:

  • Royal Society of Chemistry;
    • Past Chairman of the Lancaster and District Section,
    • Chairman of the Process Technology Group
  • BBSRC Engineering and Biological Systems Network Group
  • CIA member of the Biotechnology Sector Group
  • Society of Chemical Industry:
    • Past Chairman of the Separation Science and Technology Group (on two occasions)
    • Member of the Council and Technical Affairs Committees
  • Member of the Editorial Board ‘Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange Journal’
  • Past Member of the Frameworks NW Advisory Board.
  • Member of the Sustainable Nuclear Energy Technology Platform (SNETP) Strategic Research Agenda Working Group
  • Co Chairman of the SNETP Education, Training and Knowledge Management Working Group


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