Nuclear Engineering Research Groups (NERG)

Nuclear Engineering Research Groups (NERG)

These research groups and their associated research areas have been formulated in consultation with our key stakeholders, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR).  The links below outline the activities of each group, list their current resources and identify the Principal Investigators (PIs) and associated research faculty and staff.

  • Nuclear Instrumentation and Control Laboratory (NICL)

    The primary research subjects of Nuclear Instrumentation and Control Laboratory are the development and evaluation of nuclear I&C systems. Our research activities are related to the systems which receive thousands of plant field signals and process them to control the plants in normal and abnormal conditions. Since the whole systems include massive signals and electronic devices, and human operators, this research field involves not only nuclear engineering but also electrical engineering, computer science, industrial engineering, and cognitive science. Our research has a great potential to impact other research areas because we deal with such extreme conditions where ultra-high safety and reliability are requiredand massive information should be processed simultaneously. The representative research activities of our laboratory are the reliability estimation and development methodologies of digital systems including human performance, efficient evaluation of man-machine interface systems, and studies of cognitive engineering.


    Compact Nuclear Simulator (CNS)

    The reference plant of this simulator is Kori 3 Nuclear Power Unit in Korea which is a Westinghouse 3 Loop PWR plant. The Simulator capabilities includenormal plant operation evolution, malfunctions and abnormal plant conditions over the whole operating range.

    Eye Tracking System (ETS)

    Eye Tracking System detects frequency and duration of eye blinks and fractional closure of eyes during blinks, where he/she is staring at and how long. Eye movement data are used as the complementary measures for the evaluation of workload.


    This system can be used not only for brain wave measurements but also for heart rate and contraction-relaxation of muscles measurements. Using the brain wave, it is possible to measure human operator’s stress and awakening.

    Thermal Imaging Camera

    Thermal Imaging Camera is used for facial skin temperature measurement to calculate operators’ stress or workload

    Audio/Video System

    Audio/Video system is used for recording human operators’ actions and communications. This system is especially useful for estimating team situation awareness (TSA).

  • Nuclear Environment and Waste Management Group (NEWMG)

    Simulation, measurement and management of radioactivity in the environment and the radiological environmental impact of nuclear waste.


    Our Group:

    Nuclear Environment and Waste Management is a branch of nuclear engineering/science concerned with the application of interaction between the Nuclear Engineering, science and environment technology. The research areas of nuclear environment and waste management group includes environmental radiation monitoring, environmental impact assessment around nuclear facilities, nuclear fuel cycle policy, spent nuclear fuel management, radioactive waste treatment/disposal technology, performance assessment of waste disposal sites and etc. These research areas are important in the view of protecting the public against the potential hazards of radiation and maintaining a clean environment. In recent years, concerns for environmental preservation have increased the demand for Environmentally Safe and Sustainable Energy Development. Therefore, it is necessary to develop and apply the appropriate environmental assessment methodology covering the whole nuclear power generation cycle from the view point of the protection of the environment, workers and the public.


    Our expertise:

    • Dispersion modelling using classical and novel/emerging techniques
    • Radiation metrology and radionuclide characterization
    • Nuclear waste management
    • Spent fuel management

    Our research focus:

    • Dispersion of radionuclides and elements in the atmospheric, marine and terrestrial environments
    • Measurement of radionuclides in the atmospheric, marine and terrestrial environment
    • Spent Fuel management
    • Nuclear waste options for low level (LLW), intermediate level (ILW) and high level (HLW) waste.

    Our team:

    • Dr. Philip Beeley; Dr. Avin Pillay; Dr. Mirella Elkadi, Dr. Yacine Addad; Dr. Marouane Taemimi; Dr. Sasi Stephen


    Gamma-ray Spectroscopy System

    • HPGe based Gamma-ray spectroscopy system for the purpose of analysis of radioactivity samples
    • 40% efficiency HPGe Coaxial Detector (Pop Top) P type; Lead shield with auto sampler; Electrical cooling system and LN2 cooling system; Digital spectrometer; Data processing system; Software for calibration, analysis etc.
    • NaI(Tl) spectrometers and survey meters for radionuclide characterization.

    Low Background Alpha and Beta Counter

    • Gas proportional counting system to measure low background gross alpha/beta radio-activities of environmental swipe samples; With thin window gas flow detector, 50 sample capacity, 50 sample carriers and planchet inserts; Data processing system; Counting system control software and report editor.

    Liquid Scintillation Counting (LSC) System

    • The system to analyze low level radioactivity, especially Tritium (H-3) and C-14; Multiple sample LSC counter; Temperature control kit; Alpha/Beta discrimination.

    Dispersion Modelling and Simulation Codes

    • A wide variety of dispersion modelling codes to simulate radioactivity migration in the atmospheric, marine and terrestrial environments.



  • Nuclear Materials Science Group (NMSG)

    Measurement of electrochemical properties and stress corrosion cracking behavior of materials, Simulation of mechanical behavior of structures in nuclear power plants.

    Our Group:

    Major research interests in in nuclear materials science group center on the integrity of structural materials in nuclear power plants (NPPs) and nuclear facilities. By aging all structural materials in NPPs suffer from various degradation phenomena such as corrosion and stress corrosion cracking in reactor coolant conditions and external conditions. Since such material degradation could affect the safe operation of NPPs, it is very important to identify possible degradation mechanisms for components and structures, to investigate their kinetics, and to evaluate their consequences. This research group has studied the degradation mechanisms and their kinetics of structural materials for reactor coolant pressure boundary (RCPB) component and reactor containment buildings (RCBs) using electrochemical techniques and finite element numerical simulation.


    Our expertise:

    • Corrosion and electrochemical behavior of materials
    • Surface degradation in atmospheric environments
    • Stress corrosion cracking
    • Finite element analysis of structures

    Our research focus:

    • Primary water stress corrosion cracking (PWSCC) of austenitic stainless steels
    • Reinforcement corrosion of reactor containment buildings
    • Surface degradation of dry storage systems

    Our team:

    • Dr. Yongsun Yi; Dr. Andreas Schiffer; Dr. Akram Al Fantazi; Dr. Tae Yeon Kim; Dr. Paul Rostron; Mr. Pyungyeon Cho


    PWSCC Loop System

    • Simulation of primary water conditions (Max. temperature & pressure – 340°C and 170 atm; dissolved hydrogen – 0 ~ 100 cc/kg; dissolved oxygen – below 5 ppb, water conductivity: 20 ~ 25 ㎲/cm)
    • Various mechanical loading modes
    • DCPD(Direct Current Potential Drop) system with reversed current 4A every 0.5 ~ 10s
    • Measurement of stress corrosion cracking (SCC) crack growth rates and of stainless steels and Ni base alloys in primary water conditions

    Electrochemical Measurement system

    • Potentiostat and electrochemical cell for measurement of electrochemical properties of metallic materials
    • Potentiodynamic polarization; Potentiostatic polarization; Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, Mott & Schottky analysis

    Humidity Chamber

    • Simulation of atmospheric environments
    • Temperature range – 15 ~ 90°C; Relative humidity range – 25 ~ 98%

    Other Equipment

    • Sample preparation – Low speed cutter, High speed cutter, Grinding and polishing machine
    • Surface Examination – Optical microscope (X50 ~ X1000 magnification) with image analyzer
    • Water bath – water temperature control from 20 to 95 oC
    • High purity water generator – about 18MΩ.cm resistivity
    • Box furnace; Precision balance; Stirrer; Ultrasonic cleaner

  • Nuclear Safeguards and Security Group (NSSG)

    The Nuclear Safeguards and Security Group supports stakeholders in the areas of: development and characterization of measurement systems for nuclear material detection and quantification; assessment of safeguards and security measures for fresh and spent nuclear fuel; Monte Carlo modeling of radiation detection and measurement systems.

  • Reactor Design and Analysis Group (RDAG)

    Development and assessment of numerical codes and methods used to conduct safety analysis and thermal-hydraulics for in-the-design-phase or existing nuclear power plants.

    Our Group:

    We combine the latest research from state-of-the-art system-scale safety analysis codes and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the phenomena expected to occur under beyond design basis accidents (BDBAs) and to provide the best guidelines for accident managements.

    A major focus of our group is the development of robust methodologies to predict thermal hydraulic phenomena in single component and integral nuclear power plant systems to minimize the risks of faults.

    Our tools lead the way for more detailed design optimization approach to enhance the safety and the economic efficiency of nuclear power plants with the nuclear sector stakeholders’ research priorities in mind. We are also developing and testing novel nuclear reactor/thermal energy storage (TES) coupled system in view to maintain constant reactor power operations with highly variable power demand profiles, hence, improving the capacity factor of the nuclear power plant.

    As a research group we are also developing novel numerical algorithms to achieve a shorter and more affordable physical simulation time for transient CFD analysis through the use of High Performance Computing (HPC).

    Our expertise:

    • Development and optimization of numerical methods for transient and accident nuclear power plant analysis.
    • Reactor core design and transient modelling.
    • Application of Large Eddy Simulations (LES) approach and advanced Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) turbulence models for complex single-phase and two-phase flows using High Performance Computing (HPC).

    Our research focus:

    • Thermal-Hydraulic safety analysis during accident scenarios of nuclear power plants.
    • Optimization of next generation reactor design and neutronic parameters, as well as the assessment of plant behavior by conducting the pertinent safety analyses studies.
    • Best-Practice-Guidelines for industrial CFD users simulating nuclear industry related phenomena such as; thermal striping issues, deteriorated turbulent heat transfer in a nuclear systems, rod bundle flow and thermal field calculations, and so forth.
    • Thermal-hydraulic analysis of Hybrid/renewable systems.

    Our team:

    • Dr. Yacine Addad, Dr. Ho Joon Yoon, Dr. Saeed Al Ameri, Dr. Ahmed Al Kaabi, and Prof. Youssef Shatilla.

    Computational Facilities:

    • KUHPC: IBM High Performance Computing (HPC) Khalifa University shared facility, 11.52 Giga flops for computing, 1,200 CPU cores, Infiniband interconnection by Qlogic.
    • MIHPC: DELL Masdar Institute High Performance Computing (HPC) facility, 1,536 CPU cores, 96 NVidia GPUs.
    • Generic Pressurized Water Reactor (GPWR) simulator, a real-time, full scope, high fidelity simulator
    • Software: Commercial as well as open-source CFD codes, System scale thermal-hydraulic codes, Monte Carlo-based reactor physics and a deterministic lattice transport codes.



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