Dr. David Novog is an NSERC/UNENE Senior Industrial Research Chair in Nuclear Safety and Professor in the Department of Engineering Physics. The focus of his research is related to safety of nuclear reactors and the tools and methods used to demonstrate their response in the event of an accident. The benefits of nuclear power are significant in terms of low cost production and secure base load supply. Reactors in Ontario provide over 50% of the electricity in Ontario with some of the lowest life cycle costs and CO2 emissions for any large scale power sources. Such performance is a key contributor to the manufacturing base, heavy industry and associated jobs and economic wealth of the province. The focus of my research is on the safe operation of nuclear plants and experiments and computational analyses of their performance in postulated accidents. The nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plan in Japan was catastrophic in terms of environmental, social and economic impact. While no direct radiation fatalities occurred during the event the overall consequences highlight the importance of nuclear safety on a global scale. The analysis and lessons learned from this event form key drivers for improvements in our R&D methods.
With the advent of more realistic computational tools and detailed plant and human-factors modelling, best estimate predictions of plant response during extreme events such as those that occurred in Fukushima are now possible. A major focus of my research group is the application of state-of-the-art tools and methods in the analysis of postulated accidents, and more importantly how the uncertainty in these models affects the evolution of the accident over time. This includes modelling and experiments related to existing reactors, GEN IV reactors and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) as well as research into the continued benefits of nuclear technology through medical isotope applications and closed nuclear fuel cycles.