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Queen’s University opens unique research facility

New laboratory supports the development of safe nuclear power for Canada.

  • The new Reactor Materials Testing Laboratory.
  • This unique piece of equipment is called the FEI Osiris transmission electron microscope.
  • Mark Daymond explains the accelerator ion source.
  • Mitch Mattucci, MASc candidate, works with the target chamber.
  • Qingshan Dong, PhD candidate, works with the transmission electron microscope.
  • Mark Daymond explains the high voltage tank that is part of the accelerator.
  • Professor Emeritus Rick Holt talks about the efforts to make the RMTL a reality.
  • Principal Daniel Woolf speaks during an event at Queen's University for the RMTL.

Today the Queen’s University Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science officially opened the new $17 million Reactor Materials Testing Laboratory. The facility is a new research endeavor for the Queen’s Nuclear Materials Group in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. The goal of the RMTL is supporting the development of safe and economical nuclear power for Canada.

“Thanks to the support of Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ministry of Research and Innovation, the RMTL is a state-of-the-art facility which will allow for new and exciting advancements in nuclear power research,” says Steven Liss, Vice-Principal (Research). These advancements will in turn attract researchers from around the world to the RMTL, building the university’s reputation as a research leader, as well as allow us to foster relationships with collaborators and industrial partners in the field.”

The project was conceived and lead by Rick Holt until his retirement as NSERC/UNENE Industrial Research Chair in Nuclear Materials in 2012 and is now led by Mark Daymond, current NSERC/UNENE Industrial Research Chair in Nuclear Materials, and Canada Research Chair in Mechanics of Materials.

Metals behave quite differently in a nuclear power reactor environment than in more conventional applications. The RMTL will use accelerator technology to allow researchers to investigate how materials respond to stress and temperature inside a nuclear reactor, leading to the safer and more efficient design and maintenance of nuclear reactors.

“Internationally there is continued strong investment in nuclear power,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science. “This is an exciting opportunity for the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and our students, particularly our graduate students who now have access to a world-class facility in which to conduct their research.”

Similar accelerators are quite common around the world – but the combination of RMTL’s dedicated capabilities and the strong nuclear materials research group at Queen’s which has been assembled under the Industrial Research Chair program to exploit these capabilities is unique.

“The uniqueness of this facility is a testament to the innovative approaches being used by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science to enable world-leading research and to educate our students” says Dr. Daymond (Mechanical and Materials Engineering).

Funding for the RMTL was provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ministry of Research and Innovation, in-kind donations and Queen’s matching funds.

Partners in the project include: McMaster University, University of Western Ontario, Royal Military College, University of Toronto, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Canada), Imperial College and Manchester University (United Kingdom), Pennsylvania State University (United States) the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization. The project was endorsed by Ontario Power Generation Inc., the CANDU Owners Group Inc., the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (now Canadian Nuclear Laboratories).

For more information visit the website.

Reactor Materials Laboratory from Queen's Engineering on Vimeo.