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Senior Fellows


Colin English has over 40 years experience working in R&D within the nuclear industry for UKAEA, AEA Technology and NNL. He has worked in the field of microstructural characterisation, radiation effects in solids and in-service degradation of structural components. This has included active involvement in Research and Development (R&D), strategic development and management of R&D programmes, consultancy, expert review and line management activities. Colin is also Visiting Professor at the Department of Materials Oxford University.

Key Areas of Expertise

Throughout his career Colin has developed considerable experience of irradiation effects in structural materials during service in a reactor environment. This includes involvement in the issues associated with the use of materials in components in thermal, fast and the proposed fusion reactors. Specialities are mechanisms of creating radiation damage in metals, reactor pressure vessel (RPV) embrittlement, irradiation effects in zirconium alloys, and the mechanisms of stress corrosion cracking in austenitic steels. 

Colin is internationally recognised as an expert in reactor pressure vessel embrittlement and was the first chairman of the International Group for radiation damage mechanisms in reactor pressure vessels (IGRDM). He was also Scientific Advisor to the European Ames Network. He has co-authored over 120 publications and given numerous invited papers in his specialised field.

More recently he has been involved in a number of initiatives to sustain and develop technical expertise within NNL, including the Technical Excellence Development Programme (TEPD) and co-chairing the newly formed NNL Technical Committee.

Key Achievements

Colin has been heavily involved in a number of customer-funded projects aimed at delivering insight into specific material degradation mechanisms. The following gives examples of the scope of the work.

  • He was project Manager for a UK Government programme on microstructural metrology of metals and alloys, and project co-ordinator European 5FP PISA (11 partners) (Phosphorus Influence on Steel Ageing). This project involved the acquisition of correlated data on P segregation and embrittlement, comparisons between different experimental techniques and advances in segregation modelling.
  • He has played a central role in a number of experimental programmes aimed at establishing insight into the mechanisms of irradiation embrittlement of reactor pressure vessel steels. 
  • A recent major contribution has been his involvement in the development of the “Ageing Community” project. In this project NNL and a number of other UK partners interested in nuclear plant operation are developing a knowledge capture /expertise development base on the embrittlement of RPV Steels. This area is of key interest to the UK nuclear industry, and one in which expertise was in danger of being lost as key individuals retire.
  • He has acted as external Peer Reviewer to UK and overseas organisations on issues associated with development of dose damage relationships for RPVs.

Key Positions held 

1988 – 1991:  Chairman International Group on the mechanisms of pressure vessel steel embrittlement (IGRDM).

1986 to 1990  AEA Technology representative on NET Expert's Group on Structural Materials (NET is Next European Torus).

1985 to 1990  Authority Principal Co-ordinating Officer Underlying Radiation Effects Programme.

1985 to 1998  Group Leader, Radiation Effects Group, Materials Development Division, Harwell Laboratory (and its successor Groups/Departments).

2004 to Present Senior Fellow Materials NNL

Key Publications

Displacement Cascade Collapse At Low Temperatures In Cu3Au, T.J. Black, M.L. Jenkins, C.A. English and M.A. Kirk, Proc. Roy.Soc., A409, 177, (1986).

Investigation Of Gundremmingen RPV Archive Material Irradiated In Light-Water And Heavy-Water Reactors. C.A. English, W.J. Phythian, J.T. Buswell, J.R. Hawthorne, P.H.N. Ray in Effects of Radiation on Materials: 15th International Symposium, ASTM STP 1125, Eds. R.E. Stoller, A.S.Kumar and D.S.Gelles, pub. ASTM, Philadelphia, 1992, pp 93-116.

Views Of TAGSI On The Principles Underlying The Assessment Of The Mechanical Properties Of Irradiated Ferritic Steel Reactor Pressure Vessels, J.F.Knott, and C.A.English, Intl. J. Pressure Vessels and Piping, 76 (1999), 891-908.

Embrittlement Of Reactor Pressure Vessel Steels, C.A. English and J.M Hyde, in Comprehensive Structural Integrity, Volume 6, Eds I. Milne, R.O. Ritchie and B. Karihaloo, pub. Elsevier, ISBN 0-08-043749-4 (2003) pp. 351-398.

Critical Review Of Through-Wall Attenuation Of Mechanical Properties In RPV Steels, C.A. English,W. L. Server, and S. T. Rosinski, Journal of ASTM International, April 2004, Vol. 1, No. 4.

Views Of TAGSI On The Effects Of Gamma Irradiation On The Mechanical Properties Of Irradiated Ferritic Steel Reactor Pressure Vessels, J.F.Knott, C.A.English, D.R.Weaver and D.P.G Lidbury Intl J Pressure Vessels and Piping 82, (12), 929-940 (2005).

Studies Regarding Corrosion Mechanisms in Zirconium Alloys. Preuss M., Frankel P., Lozano-Perez S., Hudson D., Polatidis E., Ni N., Wei J., English C., Storer S., Chong K., Fitzpatrick M., Wang P., Smith J., Grovenor C., Smith G., Sykes J., Cottis B., Lyon S., Hallstadius L., Comstock B., Ambard A., Blat-Yrieix M.  October 2011 -- JAI Volume 8, Issue 910.1520/JAI103246.

Study of Lüders phenomena in reactor pressure vessel steels. D.W. Beardsmore, J. Quinta da Fonseca, J. Romero, C.A. English, , , S.R. Ortner, J. Sharples, A.H. Sherry, M.A. Wilkes. Materials Science and Engineering: A Volume 588, 20 December 2013, Pages 151–166.

Microstructural Characterisation Techniques for Mechanistic Understanding of Irradiation Damage”, in “Irradiation Embrittlement of Reactor Pressure Vessels (RPVs) in Nuclear Power Plants“, J.M. Hyde and C.A. English, “Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy: Number 26, 2014 (pp. 211-294) ISBN978-1-84569-967-3.

“Study Of Zircaloy Corrosion To Develop Mechanistic Understanding”, S. Ortner, H. Swan, A. Laferrere, C. English, J. Hyde, P. Styman, K. Jurkschat, H. Hulme, A. Pantelli, M. Gass, V. Allen, P. Frankel, Proceedings of Fontevraud 8, Oct 2014