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Research Profile: Unb University-Industry Partnerships: Advancing Knowledge And Energy Security

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University of New Brunswick Nuclear has a well-established international reputation for research into the chemistry and corrosion of power plant coolant systems. Its laboratories house “loops” mimicking steam generators, heat-exchanger circuits and nuclear reactor coolants by circulating water at high pressure and high temperature. The interaction of this water coolant with different materials is studied under representative plant conditions.

The studies have advanced the understanding of the fouling of heat exchange surfaces by corrosion products, the build-up of radiation fields around reactor components and the general corrosion of system materials – including those found in super-critical water systems. For example, the mechanisms of flow-accelerated corrosion, an insidious form of attack in all types of steam-raising equipment, have been elucidated in detail.

The studies culminate in the development of mathematical models and predictive codes that help utilities locate areas of vulnerable piping and plan schedules for plant inspections. Instruments for indicating corrosion in-situ are developed and several have been installed in operating process systems.

The reputation of the group leads to industrial research contracts and membership of advisory boards for industry and government; these have lately generated an interest in issues of managing used nuclear fuel and initiated associated research and development projects.