Success Stories

CNL researcher wins prestigious technology transfer award from a high-profile institute

(2015 March 04) Attracting the best and the brightest has a long and storied history at CNL, and when those researchers go on to win prestigious awards, like senior researcher Mike Wright, it’s an affirmation of our place in the world as a leader in science and technology and a generator of highly qualified people. Wright was recently honored for his work on behalf of the CANDU Owners Group (COG) through collaboration with U.S.-based Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) which incorporated CANDU® reactor materials degradation issues into the documentation that underpins EPRI’s materials management. This was a remarkable feat given the many differences between light water reactors (LWRs) and heavy water reactors (HWRs), such as the CANDU. The EPRI Technology Transfer Award, given annually, was presented to Mike during meetings of EPRI’s Nuclear Power Council in Nashville, Tennessee this past January as the organization met to acknowledge R&D achievements. 

Wright is no stranger to awards and recognition. In fact he has received numerous awards for his work and is an accomplished Senior Metallurgist at CNL who has been leading COG’s Reactor Vessel and Piping Degradation Working Group.  The recipient of three major AECL awards acknowledging his work for the Canadian nuclear industry—such as the AECL Performance Award received in 1994 for work on steam generator tube cracking; a 1997 D.F. Torgerson Discovery Award for his investigation of cracking in the CANDU heat transport system as well as a 2001 Distinguished Merit Award for ongoing work in this field. In addition to this prodigious list, in 2011 Mike received an A.F. Davis American Welding Society Silver medal for a paper based on work aimed at establishing guidelines for repair welding on steels containing hydrogen.

Wright collaborated with representatives from Bruce Power, Ontario Power Generation, and worked in an international team of LWR experts to adapt the EPRI-developed Materials Degradation Matrix (and R&D information management tool) to CANDU reactors in a single document alongside LWRs. The Materials Degradation Matrix summarizes global industry knowledge regarding degradation mechanisms for various materials used in nuclear power plants and identifies gaps in knowledge that can then be addressed through research. Closing these gaps helps ensure the safety and performance of the CANDU reactor fleet and increases confidence that R&D dollars are focused in areas with the largest impact on plant integrity and safety. 

Mike Wright’s work on this project is aligned with Program 1.1, Nuclear Industry Capability and an active research interest at CRL with respects to gaining insight on preventing and mitigating risks associated with nuclear operations and activities. 

“Technology transfer of EPRI results requires a strong commitment by the participating utilities, first to recognize the applicability of the research to their particular situation and then to marshal the appropriate internal resources for successful implementation,” said Neil Wilmshurst, Vice President of nuclear at EPRI. “The leadership and commitment demonstrated by the CANDU reactor owners illustrates how collaboration can effectively address key industry issues around the world,” he added. 

EPRI presented its 2014 Technology Transfer Awards to 48 individuals, representing 25 nuclear plant owners/operators worldwide. The awards span a wide array of technology transfer activities, from the use of mobile work management to improve maintenance productivity, to the extension of EPRI guidance to CANDU reactors, to the development and demonstration of open-phase detection systems for nuclear plant transformers, to the application of EPRI’s cyber security procurement methodology.