Industrial Research Chairs

UNENE members, along with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), annually fund the Industrial Research Chair (IRC) programs in areas of importance to the nuclear industry.

These areas include: nuclear safety, plant and materials performance, decommissioning and waste management, among others.

The IRCs support program-related human and capital resource costs and research grants. All industry funding is fully leveraged by NSERC for all IRCs.

UNENE-related research activities are highlighted on this page. For administrative matters relating to the research chairs, see the IRC Admin Area.

Images: Ontario Tech University, University of Waterloo, Jin Jiang

High Temperature Aqueous Chemistry

Peter Tremaine headshot

Peter Tremaine, University of Guelph

The main goal of this chair is to expand mission-oriented experimental research and modelling expertise in areas related to the primary coolant of chemistry, moderator chemistry, and steam-generator chemistry of the CANDU reactor fleet, and the geological storage of nuclear spent fuel.

The laboratory has unique expertise in the development and use of quantitative thermodynamic and spectroscopic techniques in order to understand and model aqueous chemistry un the extreme conditions that exist in nuclear reactor and spent-fuel storage systems.

Some program highlights include the study of D2O isotope effects, the study of organic solutes in water up to near critical conditions, and the study of thermodynamic properties of model actinides and fission products.

Click here to read more.

Nuclear Safety Analysis and Nuclear Reactor Safety and Thermalhydraulics

John Luxat headshot
David Novog headshot

John Luxat, McMaster University
David Novog, McMaster University

This program covers many projects in various areas of research and development, including uncertainty analysis, fuel and fuel channel integrity, severe accident analysis, in-vessel retention, and risk analysis, computational and tool development, testing and validation, and CANDU applications and advanced reactor methodologies.

Click here to read more.

Nuclear Materials

Mark Daymond headshot

Mark Daymond, Queen’s University

The main goal of this program is to understand the materials of the CANDU fuel channel, and in particular, the impacts of processing choices as well as aging mechanisms. The fuel channel includes the pressure tube, calandria tube and spacers which keep them separate over the lifetime of the channel.

The research currently concentrates on the effect of manufacturing variables on the properties microstructure and texture of pressure tubes, the anisotropic creep of Zr-2.5Nb, the plastic anisotropy of Zr-2.5Nb, Zircaloy-2, the behaviour of hydrides in bulk Zr-2.5Nb, delayed hydride cracking of Zr-2.5Nb, irradiation induced degradation of X-750 spacers.

For example, the program seeks to understand the anisotropic behaviour of pressure tube material over a wide range of crystallographic textures and microstructures and to relate this to the elongation of pressure tubes, their increase in diameter, their sag and their fracture characteristics.

As well, the program is broadening its research of materials to prepare for choices relating to small modular reactors (SMRs).

Click here to read more.

Health Physics and Environmental Safety

Edward Waller headshot
Kirk Atkinson headshot

Edward Waller, Ontario Tech University
Kirk Atkinson, Ontario Tech University

This program was established in order to provide research and training for sustainable nuclear power production in Canada and to contribute to international efforts in nuclear safety and security.

A sustainable nuclear power industry depends on regulatory compliance including a “social licence” for refurbishment, decommissioning, waste management and the introduction of new reactor technologies. As well, the industry depends on the availability of young professionals and contractors trained and engaged with the industry.

The program provides industry with expertise and means to test and characterize advanced real-time instruments, insight into the scientific drivers of regulatory requirements in radiation protection and environmental safety and expertise in the potential applications of advanced modelling and visualization technology for radiation protection training, plant nuclear security and environmental protection.

Click here to read more.

Corrosion Control and Materials Performance in Nuclear Power Systems

Roger Newman headshot
Suraj Persaud headshot

Roger Newman, University of Toronto
Suraj Persaud, Queen’s University

The program focuses on deepening the understanding of corrosion processes in steels and other metal alloys applicable to nuclear facilities. Behaviour associated with trace impurities, water chemistry and the effects of radiation are considered. Most recently, long-term corrosion impacts for waste container behaviour are under study.

As well, the program assists Ontario Power Generation (OPG) with ongoing corrosion issues, especially related to Monel. Developing close links with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) on current and future activities. Advice is also provided to OPG on electrochemical monitoring of a dry storage container for used fuel at the Darlington Waste Management Facility.

Click here to read more.

Risk-based Life Cycle Management of Engineering Systems

Mahesh Pandey headshot

Mahesh Pandey, University of Waterloo

The program focuses on the development of probabilistic models and uncertainty analysis methods to improve aging management and life cycle performance of nuclear plant systems.

The scope of the research is driven by practical applications to critical nuclear plant systems, such as fuel handling, fuel channels, safety valves and fire protection systems. In addition to supplying highly qualified personnel (HQP) to the industry, the program also provides valuable training to plant engineers in the areas of risk and reliability analysis.

It has developed aging management optimization tools, machine learning algorithms for modeling plant data and data analytics methods to extract fuel handling (FH) performance data. As well, the program supports industry’s needs for safe and cost-effective power generation and life cycle management of nuclear plant systems.

Click here to read more.

Controls, Instrumentation and Electrical Systems

Jin Jiang headshot

Jing Jiang, University of Western University

The research activities in this program focus on two main themes: advanced control systems and performance and status monitoring, for nuclear power plants. Research topics include predictive safety systems, passive safety systems, intelligent autonomous control and modelling, control for SCWR (Super Critical Water Reactor) and adoption of advanced technologies (fieldbus, wireless, FPGA) in plant control systems.

As well, the program team investigates techniques for both pre-accident and post-accident condition monitoring systems such as wireless technologies for equipment health monitoring, smart sensors, plant environment monitoring during normal operation and under severe nuclear accident conditions.

The program has been recognized internationally as a centre of excellence in control, instrumentation and electrical Systems for nuclear power plants. In total, more than 58 highly qualified personnel (HQP) have been successfully trained through the program and now play important roles in the nuclear industry in Canada, as well as internationally.

Over nearly 20 years, the program team has established a suite of state-of-the-art research facilities to create a hands-on environment to train HQP.

Click here to read more.

Radiation-Induced Chemistry and Corrosion

Clara Wren headshot

Clara Wren, University of Western Ontario

Click here to read more.