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Imagine receiving $100,000 for three consecutive years to work on an idea that you've proposed. For Paul Percival, Khashayar Ghandi and Craig Stuart that dream has become a reality. In July 2008, NSERC announced a new grant program with Natural Resources Canada and AECL Ltd. under the Generation IV Energy Technologies Program. This program is meant to promote the research and development of a Supercritical-Water-Cooled Nuclear Power Reactor. Percival (Simon Fraser University), Ghandi (Mount. Allison University), and Stuart (AECL) became the successful coapplicants for a NSERC Collaborative Research and Development Grant this year, valued at $100,000 per annum for three years.
This is a significant step forward for Canada as one of the 13 members that represents the Generation IV International Forum. Their mission is to lead the collaborative efforts of the world's leading nuclear technology nations in order to develop next generation nuclear energy systems that will meet the future's energy needs. The priority areas for research and development in Canada include "improved understanding of radiolysis under supercritical water conditions and the effect of radiolysis products on corrosion and stress corrosion cracking." Percival, Ghandi and Stuart's project contributes towards fulfilling this goal and will work with TRIUMF's Centre for Molecular and Materials Science. The project, M1198: Reaction Kinetics in Supercritical Water as Probed with Muonium, was presented to the TRIUMF Molecular and Materials Science Experiments Evaluation Committee at its December 2008 meeting where it was not only approved, but endorsed as "high priority." TRIUMF's muSR beam line will be employed to characterize the supercritical water.
In terms of how the project will carry onward, the team describes their proposed strategy: "we propose to make measurements of muonium reaction rates in supercritical water to provide unique data necessary for the development of a supercritical-water-cooled nuclear reactor. This reactor is being designed by AECL as part of an international program of research to support development of advanced nuclear power systems (The Generation IV Energy Technology Forum). Under M842 we made measurements as high as 470°C, but for this new project it will be necessary to engineer new apparatus capable of higher temperatures, ideally up to 650°C...The choice of reactions to be studied will be made with the guidance of AECL scientists and will include key products of the radiolysis of water as well as studies as a function of pH and ionic strength."
TRIUMF congratulates the co-applicants in their success and is proud to support them in a path of new opportunities and contribution to a Supercritical-Water-Cooled Nuclear Power Reactor. This grant will lead to the development of a cutting edge technology and bring us one step closer to the next-generation nuclear energy systems.
by Maria Jose Crousillat with help from Paul Percival