The Essential CANDU - a textbook on the CANDU nuclear power plant technology

The Essential CANDU is brought to you by UNENE with administrative and sponsorship support from COG. This CANDU Textbook is suitable for students, educators, trainers and working professionals at a target level of senior undergraduate year university engineering and science. The aim is to provide a concise, and consistently told, root storyline that will enable those new to CANDU, whether a student, a manager, a teacher / trainer, a journalist or a discipline area specialist, to learn about CANDU as an overall system and to delve into any specific area as desired. Such a product will significantly support the agile deployment of personnel into the industry and redeployment throughout the industry.

The product is a textbook about nuclear science and engineering pertaining to CANDU reactors using CANDU as the reference design. This distinguishes it from comparable textbooks based on PWR reactors. This is not a product description of CANDU per se.

The textbook is provided free of charge in pdf format below, subject to Copyright restrictions. It is to be a living document; updates will be posted as they become available. It is anticipated that the textbook will appear in printed form at a later date.

Work on this project continues. For further information, report errors, etc., contact Bill Garland, Editor-in-Chief, or UNENE at

We wish to sincerely thank our sponsors for their financial support and access to technical information, without which this project would not have been possible:

The Essential CANDU

  • Please note: Chapter material subject to change without notice; revisions are indicated by the date.
  • The Essential CANDU (pdf 108Mb) - the complete text in one file, last revised 2017.04.12. See below for the content broken out chapter by chapter.
  • Errata (pdf 504kb) - last revised 2020.02.11
  • Textbook figures and Images - Free for non-commercial use, extracted for your convenience, copyrighted.
     Chapter by chapter (same content as the single large pdf above)


We wish to sincerely thank the following organizations for their financial support and access to technical information, without which this project would not have been possible:

  • Ontario Power Generation (OPG)
  • Bruce Power Inc. (BP)
  • Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL-CRL)
  • Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company (KHNP)
  • Societatea Nationala “Nuclearelectrica” – S.A. (SNN)
  • Third Qinshan Nuclear Power Company (TQNPC)
  • AMEC-Nuclear Safety Solutions Limited (AMEC-NSS)
  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)
  • Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS)
  • Hydro Quebec (HQ)
  • Kinectrics (Kinectrics)
  • New Brunswick Power Nuclear (NBPN)
  • SNC-Lavalin (SNC-Lavalin)
  • University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE)
  • CANDU Owners Group Inc. (COG) for administrative support.

Revision History

  • 2017.04.12 - Fixed equation numbering in Chapter 14.
  • 2017.03.21 - Fixed minor typos in Chapter 5.
  • 2017.03.12 - Fixed minor typos in Chapter 6 problem sets.
  • 2017.03.08 - Recreated all pdf files to fix minor equation font issues arising on Apple Mac OS and iOS systems.
  • 2017.01.08 - Fixed minor typos in Chapter 6 and 7.
  • 2017.01.05 - Released Chapter 20 - Fuel Handling and Storage.
  • 2016.12.27 - Released Chapter 21 - CANDU In-Core Fuel-Management, fixed minor typos in the Frontmatter.
  • 2016.12.26 - Added new author to Biographies.
  • 2016.12.10 - Fixed minor typos in Chapter 5 problem set.
  • 2016.12.08 - Minor addition to Chapter 7 on HTS stability.
  • 2016.12.02 - Released Appendices for Chapter 2.
  • 2016.09.30 - Fixed minor errors in Chapter 2.
  • 2016.09.08 - Fixed minor typos in Chapters 1,8,9. Fixed figure error in Chapter 1 Appendix.
  • 2016.07.18 - Fixed typos and minor errors in Chapter 8.
  • 2016.07.17 - Fixed font issues and typos in Chapter 9.
  • 2016.04.07 - Fixed minor error in Chapter 6, figure 10.
  • 2016.03.21 - Released Chapter 7 - Thermalhydraulic Analysis.
  • 2015.12.30 - Released Chapter 6 - Thermalhydraulic Design.
  • 2015.12.03 - Released Chapter 19 - Storage and Disposal of Irradiated Fuel.
  • 2015.09.21 / 2015.10.03 - Revised Chapter 13 to fix layout problems for figures 37 and 38 and typos in several equations.
  • 2015.08.23 - Cover revision.
  • 2015.08.02 - Released Chapter 11 - Electrical Systems.
  • 2015.06.08 - Added problem sets to Chapters 1, 2, 3, 8, 9.
  • 2015.03.31 - Revised Chapter 5 to fix a font problem with the equations.
  • 2015.03.30 - Released Chapter 18 - Fuel Cycles.
  • 2015.02.08 - Figures and Images from the textbook extracted for your convenience.
  • 2014.12.11 - Released Chapter 17 - Fuel.
  • 2014.11.21 - Revised Chapter 5 to insert missing equation 2.
  • 2014.09.20 - Initial release - Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16.


©UNENE. All rights reserved. Published in Canada.

Fair Use: The textbook is provided free of charge in pdf format and is intended for education and training purposes provided full attribution is given. It is provided in good faith as an aid to CANDU awareness, education and training.

Citations: Since the contents of this web-based textbook are subject to change without notice, it is important that the date of retrieval be included in the citation. To cite the textbook, the following form is suggested:

The Essential CANDU, A Textbook on the CANDU Nuclear Power Plant Technology, Editor-in-Chief Wm. J. Garland, <chapter, page, etc, as appropriate>, University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE), ISBN 0-9730040. Retrieved from on <insert date of retrieval>.

Reproduction or translation of any part of this work beyond that permitted by The Canadian Copyright Act without the permission of the copyright owner (UNENE) is unlawful. See also the CAUT Guidelines for the Use of Copyrighted Material (pdf 81kb).

Requests for permission for more extensive use or for further information should be addressed to
c/o Department of Engineering Physics, Bldg. JHE A315
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, CANADA L8S 4L7
Tel: (905) 525-9140 ext. 20168


UNENE and representatives associated with the production of this textbook assume no liability for use or misuse of the textbook contents. While due care is taken to ensure the contents are accurate, UNENE and representatives do not make any warranty, express or implied, or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information contained herein.

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