J. Clara Wren

J. Clara Wren

Department of Chemistry
The University of Western Ontario

Chair title

NSERC/AECL Industrial Research Chair in Radiation Induced Chemical Processes in Nuclear Reactor Environments

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2005


The objective of this Chair program is to develop a fundamental understanding of the radiation-induced chemical effects on nuclear reactor materials degradation. The research activities include studies of steel corrosion kinetics in a gamma-irradiation cell, and the catalytic effects of dissolved chemical additives on water radiolysis, using various chemical, electrochemical and surface analytical techniques in combination with computer model developments. The Chairholder is a physical chemist by training and was a principal scientist at AECL working on the radiation-induced processes relevant to reactor safety prior to joining UWO in 2005.

The primary objectives for the term of the Chair are:

  1. to establish experimental methodologies for corrosion kinetic studies in a gamma cell at temperatures below 150oC, with an aim of expanding to higher temperatures,
  2. to identify the mechanisms by which water radiolysis and corrosion of steel synergistically interact, and,
  3. train graduate students and PDFs in the fields of radiation chemistry, electrochemistry, and multi-phase kinetics, all crucial science areas in addressing materials degradation issues.

The sponsoring organization provides guidance on the most pressing materials performance issues.

Nuclear reactors (and their waste streams), when compared to other large industrial plants, provide unique chemical environments that are characterized by the presence of ionizing radiation. AECL is an international leader in nuclear reactor design and construction. The knowledge generated through this program will be crucial in supporting the maintenance programs in currently operating nuclear plants and providing guidance on materials specifications and chemistry control requirements for advanced nuclear reactor designers. The Canadian nuclear industry has identified a deficiency in the availability of individual with a depth of knowledge and expertise in radiation chemistry as a significant resource gap that the work of the Chair in training new scientists will address.


  • Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL)/Énergie atomique du Canada Ltée (EACL)
  • CANDU Owners Group (COG)

Contact information

Department of Chemistry
The University of Western Ontario
Chemistry Building
1151 Richmond Street
London, Ontario
N6A 5B7

Tel.: 519-661-2111, ext. 86339
Fax: 519-661-3022


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