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MChem Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Environmental Challenges: Waste Disposal

Course unit fact file
Unit code EART33102
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 6
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


The focus of a set of third year modules will be on large scale, complex, cross disciplinary, environmental challenges by applying the key concepts/skills/techniques learned in previous years using a series of specific case studies, in this case related to waste disposal. After this module the students should be able to 1) synthesise and evaluate environmental data; 2) evaluate the impact on society and ultimately 3) create new and innovative solutions/hypothesis related to this specific challenge.



The aim of this course is to synthesise and evaluate environmental data in relation to government policies and guidelines related to waste disposal. The final goal to able to evaluate and/or create new and innovative solutions/hypothesis related to waste disposal.


Learning outcomes

On the successful completion of the course, students will be able to:




Evaluate strategies for different type of waste disposal, and their impact on the environment




Synthesise and evaluate environmental data related to waste disposal




Assess impact on society caused by waste disposal




Create new and innovative solutions/hypothesis related to the impact and implementation of waste disposal




Communicate and defend their ideas and findings clearly and concisely to a scientific audience related to waste disposal strategies





Still to be completed but will follow the following structure:


W1: Lecture 1: Introduction to waste disposal: Landfill Design and Operation


Group work session 1: introduction and dividing the groups.


W2: Literature Discussion 1: Waste management strategies: Design, construction and management of landfill sites

Group work session 2: Aims and directions of group work for case study


W3: Lecture 2: Mine waste management and acid mine drainage (AMD)

Group work session 3: Developing of group work; identifying resources needed for case study


W4: Literature discussion 2: Impact and management strategies for AMD

Group work session 4: Designing individual projects; alignment to overall aims/objectives.


W5: Lecture 3: Radioactive waste management: Nuclear decommissioning and radioactive contaminated land.

Group work session 5: Developing of group work


W6: Seminar 1: Case study of Sellafield site: Guest speaker from Sellafield Ltd

Group work session 6: Poster presentation of case studies


W7: Lecture 4: Radioactive waste management: Geological Disposal of Radioactive waste

Literature discussion 4 (in class/online): Case studies of Radioactive waste management: Low level waste and contaminated land


W8: Seminar 2: Geological disposal of radioactive waste in the UK: Guest Speaker from Radioactive Waste Management

Literature discussion 5 (in class/online): Case studies of Radioactive waste management: Geological disposal of radioactive waste around the world


W9: Lecture 5: Public engagement, government policy and radioactive waste disposal: Guest Speaker

Literature discussion 6 (in class/online): Case studies of Radioactive waste management: Public engagement strategies around the world.


W10: Seminar 3:  Radioactive waste debate with scientific expert and social science moderators




Teaching and learning methods

The course will be delivered using a variety of methods. There will be 5 lectures related to specific fundamentals of the case study, with podcasts enabled and notes posted online. This will be supported by a series of themed discussion sessions during which the most recent literature and government policies/guidelines regarding specific aspects of the environmental challenge will be discussed. Seminars (some via video conferencing) will be used to communicate/discuss specific aspects of the environmental challenge with specialists in the field. Thus, to be successful, it is essential that students attend every lecture and themed discussion sessions, and revise the previous week's materials between classes.


In addition, students, working in groups, will be given a specific aspect of the environmental challenge and with the aid of a facilitator identify issues and questions in a set of weekly group sessions (2 hours each) in the first half of the course. Students will be expected to work collaboratively outside of class time to find, evaluate, manage and curate information and develop a capacity to work effectively as a team. To promote leadership skills the ‘manager’ will rotate weekly through the group.


There are no exams. The outcomes of the group assessments will be assessed using an individual ePoster presentation (50%of the mark) focused on the development of a waste disposal/remediation strategy from a case study provided. This will be done in a conference style poster session where each student will be questioned on their finding. Finally, the students will write an individual report (50% of mark) in which they summarize a specific environmental challenge associated with waste disposal, evaluate the environmental data available, assess the impact on society and propose new and innovative solutions.


Assessment methods

Method Weight
Report 50%
Oral assessment/presentation 50%

Feedback methods

Assessment type

% Weighting within unit

Hand out and hand in dates



How, when and what feedback is provided

ILO tested

Report (individual)


Mid May (week 12)

Max 2500 words



Written/oral feedback will be provided when marks released

1, 2, 3. 4, 5

Presentation (individual poster)


Mid semester (week 6)

A1 size poster



Written/oral feedback will be provided when marks released

2, 4, 5


Recommended reading

Sustainable Practices for Landfill Design and Operation (2015) – Townsend et al.


Radioactive Waste Engineering and Management (2015) – Nagasaki & Nakayama



Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 100

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Samuel Shaw Unit coordinator

Additional notes



Example student activity

Total Hours

New material

Consolidation and Practice

Contact time (students are in front of staff)

Lecture (new material)

Mostly listening & taking notes (mostly new material)




Lecture (revision/examples)

Mostly listening & taking notes (no new material- revision of course)


Practical (new material and practice.  Typically 25-50% of practical  time is spent on new material)

Interactive individual or group work (problem solving, experiments, watching demonstrations, describing and interpreting samples, paper-based exercises, computer-based exercises)



Interactive small group work


Seminar/examples class

Working on and discussing questions




Independent study time

Pre/post lecture work

Reading own notes, re-solving examples, prep work, revisit podcast




Pre/post practical work/write up

Complete practical work, prep work, reading feedback




Studio/workshop time

Individual or group work (student led), di

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