Nav: Home

McMaster University projects awarded $3.3 million to address auto industry, nuclear safety

April 18, 2016

Two pioneering research projects will bring together 17 McMaster researchers, a dozen industry partners and more than 80 students thanks to $3.3M in research funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's CREATE program.

The CREATE (Collaborative Research and Training Experience) program trains the next generation of researchers to tackle Canada's most pressing scientific challenges.

Wael El-Dakhakhni is leading a research team whose unique set of multidisciplinary expertise will ensure the performance of nuclear power plant reactor safety systems and minimize the environmental risk of spent nuclear fuel under natural hazard.

"Japan is still struggling with the cascading economic and environmental impacts five years after a powerful earthquake and tsunami caused the meltdown of the nuclear reactors at Fukushima," says El-Dakhakhni, professor in the department of civil engineering and founding director of the McMaster Institute for Multi-hazard Systemic Risk Studies.

"Canada relies on nuclear power as a major component of its overall energy supply mix, but there's a critical expertise gap that needs to be addressed to guarantee our nuclear infrastructure systems are resilient - that is, remain fully operational, or recover rapidly and safely, following a natural disaster," El-Dakhakhni explains.

The Canadian Nuclear Energy Infrastructure Resilience under Seismic Systemic Risk (CaNRisk) program, directed by El-Dakhakhni, combines the collective research talents of some of the world's leading experts in nuclear safety (John Luxat and Shinya Nagasaki from engineering physics) with the civil engineering expertise of Pei Jun Guo (soil-structure interaction), DimitriosKonstantinidis and Mike Tait (structural and seismic control), Tracy Becker and LydellWiebe (earthquake engineering) and Sarah Dickson (water systems safety).

CaNRisk was awarded $1.65M over five years, and will provide 44 students the opportunity to participate in hands-on internships with some of Canada's key nuclear stakeholders, including Amec Foster Wheeler Nuclear Canada, Bruce Power, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Hatch Ltd., Kinectrics Inc., and Ontario Power Generation. CaNRisk also includes partners from Western University with expertise in uncertainty analysis and electrical engineering.

A second project, the CREATE Program in Hybrid Electric Vehicle Powertrain Design and Development, involves researchers from McMaster and the University of Windsor, along with industry partners Ford Canada, D&V Electronics, AVL Test Systems and Cadex Electronics.

Led by Saeid Habibi, professor of mechanical engineering and NSERC/Ford Chair in Hybrid Technologies, the team will develop the talent for Canada's automotive industry to address the challenges associated with new electric energy storage and electric propulsion technologies.

"Canada's automotive sector is not only rebounding, it's growing rapidly," says Habibi. "But in order to capitalize on this momentum and to remain competitive, it's critical that the sector has access to a highly qualified workforce with training in advanced electric and hybrid power train technologies. This CREATE funding ensures we're producing well-rounded graduates with the requisite technical and professional skills that our industry partners require."

Students will benefit from working with researchers from a number of departments: Mo Elbestawi, Jim Cotton, Fengjun Yan, and Samir Ziada (mechanical engineering); Ali Emadi, and Nigel Schofield (electrical and computer engineering); and Gillian Goward (chemistry & chemical biology).

"We are delighted that McMaster was awarded funding for two CREATE projects", says Allison Sekuler, interim vice-president, research, noting that only 13 projects were awarded across the country.

"Once again McMaster is punching well above our weight, demonstrating the exceptional quality and innovation of our researchers. These projects will have very real and direct impacts on enhancing our economy and environment, and also develop the next generation of talent to address some of Canada's and the world's most pressing issues."

McMaster University

Related Nuclear Power Articles:

US nuclear regulators greatly underestimate potential for nuclear disaster
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission relied on faulty analysis to justify its refusal to adopt a critical measure for protecting Americans from nuclear-waste fires at dozens of reactor sites around the country, according to an article in the May 26 issue of Science magazine.
Visualizing nuclear radiation
Extraordinary decontamination efforts are underway in areas affected by the 2011 nuclear accidents in Japan.
System automatically detects cracks in nuclear power plants
A new automated system detects cracks in the steel components of nuclear power plants and has been shown to be more accurate than other automated systems.
'Diamond-age' of power generation as nuclear batteries developed
New technology has been developed that uses nuclear waste to generate electricity in a nuclear-powered battery.
Nuclear CSI: Noninvasive procedure could identify criminal nuclear activity
Determining if an individual has handled nuclear materials is a challenge national defense agencies currently face.
'Pee power' turns urine into sustainable power source for electronic devices
Researchers at the University of Bath have developed an innovative miniature fuel cell that can generate electricity from urine, creating an affordable, renewable and carbon-neutral way of generating power.
OUP publishes free article collection about Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster
March 11, 2016, marks five years since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster.
Nuclear Science Advisory Committee issues plan for US nuclear physics research
The Nuclear Science Advisory Committee, or NSAC, has publicly released 'Reaching for the Horizon, The 2015 Long Range Plan for Nuclear Science.' The new plan was unanimously accepted by NSAC, a committee composed of eminent scientists who have been tasked by DOE and the National Science Foundation to provide recommendations on future research in the field.
What happened at the Fukushima nuclear power plant?
Michio Ishikawa, an expert in the field of nuclear power, has written a book for those who would like to know more about the nuclear disaster which occurred in Japan in March 2011.
Probing what happens to plutonium in a nuclear explosion
For years, research on nuclear weapons has relied on old data, limited experiments and computer modeling.

Related Nuclear Power Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...