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Peter R. Tremaine

Peter R. Tremaine

University of Guelph

Chair title

NSERC/UNENE Senior Industrial Research Chair in High- Temperature Aqueous Chemistry

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2016


Canada’s nuclear energy industry needs to develop better tools to understand and model water chemistry at high temperatures and pressures. These tools will help meet challenges associated with load-following, lifetime extension, new reactor types, and deep geological repositories for high-level nuclear waste. The goal of this NSERC Senior Industrial Research Chair is to develop quantitative instrumental methods to study the chemistry of high-temperature aqueous systems, and to use those methods to carry out basic research to address these challenges.

Over the past decade, the University of Guelph has developed a world-class laboratory for high-temperature aqueous chemistry, equipped with state-of-the-art, high-precision spectroscopic and thermodynamic instruments to study the properties of aqueous solutions under the extreme conditions encountered in Canada’s nuclear industry. This five-year research program will carry out mission-oriented, experimental, basic research intended to develop databases for key radioactive species and predictive modelling tools to support chemistry-control strategies for the primary coolant, secondary coolant, and moderator of CANDU reactors (60 C to 310 C), and to predict the behaviour of radionuclides in potential groundwater conditions in a geological repository of used fuel from these reactors (80 C to 150 C).

Dr. Peter R. Tremaine is a chemistry professor and former dean of the College of Physical and Engineering Science at the University of Guelph. Before joining the university, he spent 15 years as an applied scientist in the nuclear and heavy oil industries. Dr. Tremaine’s internationally recognized research focuses on using small-scale flow techniques for high-precision measurements of the properties of aqueous chemistry at very high temperatures and pressures. These techniques include calorimetry, spectroscopy, conductivity, and pressure-vessel methods. His work has contributed to underlying science and to applied problems in thermal and nuclear power generation, heavy oil recovery, geochemistry, and materials science.

In the short term, the research conducted under the aegis of this chair will contribute to extending the lifetime of current nuclear reactors by developing chemistry-based strategies to control flow-accelerated corrosion in the primary coolant circuits, as well as a better understanding the mechanisms of stress-corrosion cracking in steam generators. Long-term benefits to the CANDU program lie in understanding the chemistry of primary coolant circuits at temperatures well above the current operating limit of 310 C. This will contribute to new reactor designs and operating strategies. Improved geochemical models for predicting the effects of groundwater intrusion into used fuel repositories over geologic time scales will improve Canada’s strategies for the safe disposal of high-level nuclear waste.


  • University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE)
  • CANDU Owners Group (COG)
  • Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO)
  • Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)

Contact information

University of Guelph
Department of Chemistry


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