Corrosion Research Project With Multiple Universities Receives Ontario Funding

A group of people looks at machinery

Scientists from the NWMO and Western University visit a national research facility where coatings are made and applied to prototype used fuel containers.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has been instrumental with four Ontario universities in winning a research grant to further study the long-term stability of used fuel containers for deep underground applications.

The new $4-million five-year research excellence grant from the Ontario Research Fund builds on funding that is already in place from the NWMO and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada for this multidisciplinary initiative.

“This project will enhance our understanding of the physical and chemical interactions of the containers with corrosive species, groundwater, clay, and micro-organisms,” says Dr. Mehran Behazin, an associate scientist in corrosion and microbiology at the NWMO. “This is crucial to demonstrating the long-term safety of the deep geological repository.”

The project brings together nine academic researchers with diverse expertise – in metallurgy, electrochemistry, corrosion science, thermodynamics, hydrogeology, mineralogy, microbiology, synthetic chemistry, and computer modelling – to understand the complex interactions that will take place in the repository over hundreds of thousands of years. It will also enable improved communication between research groups, and provide training for emerging scientists.

The project is led by Prof. Jamie Noël from Western University, who will work collaboratively with researchers from the University of Toronto, University of Waterloo and York University.