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Modernizing nuclear power plants the focus of new program


Waterloo, ON – The federal government is committing $1 million over five years to support a new research chair that will investigate the engineering and operation of Canada’s nuclear plants. The program, headed by Dr Mahesh Pandey of the University of Waterloo, will help assess the reliability of components over the life of a power plant.

Federal support is provided through the Research Partnerships Programs of Science and Engineering Research Canada (NSERC). The University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE) an alliance of universities, nuclear power utilities, and research and regulatory agencies will contribute an additional $1 million over five years. The chair will be called the NSERC/UNENE industrial research chair in risk-based life cycle management of engineering systems.

"We are expecting that Dr Mahesh Panday and his research team will develop new probalistic methods, tools and models for inspection, rehabilitation and replacement strategies that will result in safe and economic life cycle performance of systems, structures and components in a nuclear power plant," said Dr Mohan Mathur, president and CEO of UNENE. "Dr Pandey will add a nuclear dimension to the activities of the world-known Institute for Risk Research at the University of Waterloo and graduate highly qualified specialists who will integrate risk-based decision-making at nuclear power plants."

UNENE has collaborated with NSERC in the creation of five industrial research chairs in the nuclear field at Ontario universities.

"The NSERC-UNENE chair program provides an exciting opportunity to work collaboratively with industry partners to develop innovative analysis tools and advanced methods for managing risk to critical infrastructure. The goal is to develop the knowledge base in support of best practices for inspection, assessment and refurbishment of power plant systems that enhance safety, reliability and cost efficiency in the nuclear power industry," said Dr Pandey.

Dr Pandey has many years of experience in both probabilistic analysis and applied mechanics. He has received awards for teaching and research excellence from within the University of Waterloo as well as the Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award in 2003.