Canada's plan

Collaboration Strengthens Copper Corrosion Program

NWMO staff look at copper corrosion data

December 16, 2016


NWMO staff look at copper corrosion data

A 2016 peer review report of the NWMO’s copper corrosion program found that our program is on the right track, thanks in part to our success in building relationships with the next generation of scientific experts.

Thalia Standish is a recipient of the Mitacs Accelerate Scholarship and an emerging leader in her field. She’s a PhD student at Western University researching galvanic corrosion, including emerging techniques and quality assurance developments.

Her research is looking to answer one main question – if there’s a defect in copper, what happens? The question may seem simple but the work is cutting edge, leading to its inclusion in the international peer review report on our copper corrosion program.

“Thalia’s work is incredibly relevant to our copper corrosion program and to our project overall,” explains David Hall, a Corrosion Scientist with the NWMO. “A big part of protecting people and the environment is making certain we understand how this copper coating will behave over a very long period of time.”

The NWMO is tasked with implementing Adaptive Phased Management, Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel, and copper is a key part of our design for a used fuel container. The container will be protected by a corrosion-resistant copper coating. It is part of a larger system of engineered and natural barriers that will work together to help isolate the used nuclear fuel from the surrounding environment once it’s in the underground repository.

“My time at the NWMO has been a great experience so far and has given me the opportunity to work side-by-side with engineering experts,” said Thalia. “It’s been incredibly helpful in advancing my research and it’s really gratifying to see my work used in a way that directly impacts the NWMO’s project.”

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