In celebration of Nuclear Science Week 2021, Nuclear Operations & Facilities hosted our first-ever Nuclear Research Symposium, which gave McMaster graduate students an opportunity to share their research in nuclear science. From developing new medicines and new nuclear safety techniques, to optimizing technologies for nuclear power reactors and space missions, our presenters showcased their diverse research interests in nuclear science and engineering.

Mackenzie Tigwell, Radiation Science – Medical Physics

Mackenzie is a first-year Master’s student in McMaster’s Radiation Science – Medical Physics program. She is particularly interested in radioisotope development to enable innovation in nuclear medicine. Mackenzie is excited by the opportunity to find new ways to treat diseases and create positive global impact through research in her field.

Mackenzie’s presentation focused on the production of Holmium-166 microspheres for the radioembolization of liver metastases. This research seeks to understand how irradiation conditions affect the quality of microspheres. Additionally, Mackenzie is hoping to use this understanding to increase the quantity and quality of doses being produced at McMaster Nuclear Reactor.

Michael Tucker, Engineering Physics

Michael is a fourth-year PhD Candidate in the Department of Engineering Physics. He is interested in finding ways to leverage the major improvements in computing power that weren’t available when nuclear power plants were first designed, to optimize their production of power while ensuring safe and reliable operation. Through his research, Michael supports a carbon-free energy technology that he believes should be a critical part of Canada’s energy mix going forward.

Michael’s presentation focuses on the Best Estimate Plus Uncertainty approach to safety analysis – an exciting technique that is quickly gaining international recognition as a best practice for nuclear safety. Michael is happy to be a part of that work here in Canada.

Tianyi Ren, Radiation Science

Tianyi is a second-year Master’s student in McMaster’s Radiation Science program. Tianyi’s presentation focused on his research into developing a method for performing ultra-high-rate gamma-ray spectrometry using a Lanthanum Bromide (LaBr3) detector. The main goal of his project is to solve the extremely high dead time that exists during gamma-ray measurements, which is an unavoidable challenge encountered in high-rate gamma spectrometry.

Tianyi was inspired by a previous research project which used the LaBr3 detector for gamma-ray spectrometry at CANDU power reactors. In this project, high dead time was a major issue. Tianyi’s research focuses on reducing dead time, as this will help improve both the accuracy and reliability of gamma-ray measurements.

Benjamin Dyer, Physics

Benjamin Dyer is a first-year Master’s student in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. He is interested in the development of radiation detectors for characterizing and monitoring radiation fields in low Earth orbit. His research project focuses on the development of a beta-ray spectrometer for use on a CubeSat.

Benjamin’s presentation focuses on determining the geometric factor of a telescope using Monte-Carlo simulations. Event detection algorithms can be tested post-simulation allowing for quicker instrument development.