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Kirk Atkinson

Associate Professor and Associate Industrial Research Chair

Department of Energy and Nuclear Engineering

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science

Contact information

Energy Systems and Nuclear Science Research Centre (ERC) - Room 4065
North Oshawa
2000 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, ON L1G 0C5

905.721.8668 ext. 5501

Areas of expertise

  • Nuclear engineering
  • Reactor physics
  • Small modular reactors (SMRs)
  • Radiation science
  • Radiation biophysics
  • Radiation risk assessment
  • Microfocus x-ray spectroscopy
  • High performance computing


Dr Atkinson graduated from the University of London with a BSc in Theoretical Physics in 1999, an MSc in Astrophysics in 2001, and an MRes in Image and X-ray Physics in 2002. He joined the Gray Laboratory in 2002 as a Research Associate and PhD student on a US DOE-funded project on low-dose radiation. After postdoctoral work at the Diamond Light Source, in 2008 he joined the Ministry of Defence as Senior Lecturer in Nuclear Science in the Nuclear Department, the UK’s only dedicated Nuclear Engineering School. He became Technical Lead for Reactor Physics and High Performance Computing in 2012, and for Radiation Physics and Criticality in 2018. Since 2014, in collaboration with Rolls-Royce, he led a multi-million dollar technical effort to develop a high-throughput Gamma Emission Tomography system (EGRET) for imaging and characterisation of spent nuclear fuel. Since 2016 he has been collaborating with Idaho National Laboratory on modelling and simulation of reactors using the MOOSE framework. He has supervised three PhD and over twenty MSc students, and between 2008 and 2015, taught all Royal Navy nuclear engineers. An expert on Small Modular Reactors in the marine context, he served on the Physics Working Group and Science Support Network for the UK Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program (NNPP), was part of the team assessing nuclear power options for future Royal Navy submarines, and co-authored a report on marine power options for the UK’s chief scientific advisor. A visiting lecturer at the University of Manchester, where he taught on the UK’s NTEC MSc Program, he joined the Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science at Ontario Tech University as an Associate Professor in January 2019. As naval reactors are the original SMR’s, he is perhaps the only Canadian academic with real-world experience working in a successful program encompassing the design, manufacture, operation and disposal of small pressurised water reactors (PWRs).


  • BSc in Theoretical Physics University of London, UK 1999
  • MSc in Astrophysics University of London, UK 2001
  • MRes in Image and X-ray Physics University of London, UK 2002
  • PhD in Physics University of London, UK 2007