Nuclear Energy

As a result of recent decisions, Nuclear Power will play an important role in electricity generation in Canada for decades into the future. Current research is focussed on the estimation of the safety margins for the operation of nuclear power plants. Safe operation is the sine qua non of nuclear operations but overly conservative safety margins reduce the power output of the plants thus increasing their costs. Key to this issue is the interplay between the nuclear aspects (neutronics) and the heat transport characteristics (thermalhydraulics) of the reactor. Each of these research areas is studied both individually and also in terms of their mutual interaction.  The complexity is further multiplied by chronic effects like system aging or acute affects such as accidents. 

The nuclear group addresses unresolved issues related to nuclear power; in particular, aspects of the political, economic and environmental implications of its use. Issues such as nuclear fuel cycles as related to the issue of the wastes from nuclear systems, the role of nuclear plants in the changing electricity grid structure, nuclear energy’s role in the production of hydrogen and nuclear weapons proliferation are investigated.

McMaster Nuclear Reactor