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Operations & Facilities

Centre for Advanced Nuclear Systems

A newly established regional nuclear research centre used for understanding the behavior of nuclear materials and thermalhydraulics systems.


The Centre for Advanced Nuclear Systems (CANS) is a newly established regional nuclear research centre unlike any other at a university worldwide.  The Centre, headquartered at McMaster University  provides unique world-class capability to advance research in three focus areas: 1) nuclear materials behaviour, 2) nuclear safety thermalhydraulic behavior, and 3) health physics dose response investigation.

CANS is comprised of the following five distinct facilities:

1. Nuclear Materials Post-Irradiation Examination Facility

This facility is the largest, most complex and expensive of the five facilities and consists of: A suite of custom designed, fabricated and installed hot cells with 5 separate workstations for receiving, machining and waste handling, sample preparation, mechanical testing and optical microscopy examination of irradiated material samples. Each work station has a thick leaded glass shielded window and pair of remote manipulators.  An instrument room located at the end of the hot cell suite contains a shielded FEI Versa Dual Beam Scattering Electron Microscope/Focused Ion Beam (SEM/FIB) with EDAX trident system. Two fume hoods are located in this room for handling and etching of small active samples.

2. Nuclear Materials Characterization Facility
A materials characterization facility that will be used to investigate at the atomistic level the characteristics of existing and newly developed materials. The facility includes a Cameca LEAP 4000 Three Dimensional Atom Probe (3DAP) – the only such instrument in Canada – and an ZEISS NVision 40 Scattering Electron Microscope/Focused Ion Beam (SEM/FIB). This equipment is collocated in the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research (BIMR) adjacent to the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy at McMaster University.

3. Nuclear Thermal Testing Facility
This facility is designed to obtain experimental data that will be used to develop and test nuclear safety thermalhydraulic models. The facility includes a heated flow loop, an upgraded 256 kW power supply, cooling heat exchangers, a new heat transfer test section and 3-D Tomography and High Speed Video instrumentation for state-of-the-art flow visualization. This facility is located in the Nuclear Research Building (NRB) at McMaster University.

4. Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy Laboratory
A bench-scale facility located in the Nuclear Research Building Annex that provides the means to conduct fundamental studies of material defects.

5. Health Physics Dose Response Facility
Contains a Neutron Generator and Gamma Imaging devices to conduct research in mixed radiation fields (neutron + gamma) prototypical of nuclear power plant environments. This facility is located at University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).