Atomic Energy of Canada Limited


McMaster, AECL and CNL Establish Undergraduate Nuclear Research Experience Program

McMaster, AECL and CNL Establish Undergraduate Nuclear Research Experience Program

McMaster University, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) have launched a new program to enrich learning and real-world experience in nuclear research for McMaster undergraduate students.

The CNL Nuclear Undergraduate Research Experience program provides funding to allow students enrolled in Level II or above in the Faculties of Engineering and Science to develop research and technical skills in the nuclear field.

The program is part of the partnership established last year between McMaster, CNL and AECL to advance nuclear research, education and training. With the global recognition of nuclear as a clean energy source to be implemented in the fight against climate change, the demand for an experience-skilled workforce is expected to grow significantly. Programs to develop talent will help meet this challenge.

As part of the eight-week program, students will be paired with a CNL employee for mentorship opportunities and for guidance on their research projects. Research projects will focus on health, safety and security, energy and the environment, including but not limited to research in small modular reactors, hydrogen, materials characterization, medical isotopes and radiochemistry. Additionally, participants will experience two weeks of learning, including hands-on research, at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories located at the Chalk River site or at other AECL sites managed by CNL.

The Chalk River Laboratories is the largest single complex among Canada’s science and technology infrastructure. Students enrolled in the program will have access to cutting-edge technologies housed within 50+ nuclear facilities and laboratories, which use nuclear science and technologies to advance research and applications in clean energy and the environment, health sciences, safety and security.

The first cohort of the program includes seven students from the Faculty of Science and five students from the Faculty of Engineering.

Dave Tucker, McMaster’s Assistant Vice-President, Nuclear says this opportunity to work with such visionary partners will have a significant impact on the talent pipeline for the nuclear industry.

“CNL and AECL are world leaders in nuclear research and innovation, and this investment is a testament to their continued leadership in ensuring Canada’s nuclear sector remains competitive on a global stage,” he says. “I salute them on their foresight and for creating pathways for our talented and passionate students – the next generation of nuclear experts – to advance discoveries in nuclear medicine, materials, safety and technology.”

“As Canada continues to invest in nuclear science and technology to support our clean energy future, the next generation is pivotal in driving everything from research and development to design and planning,” said Dr. Jeff Griffin, CNL’s Vice-President of Science and Technology. “McMaster University students will contribute to this innovation and we are committed to helping them build their capabilities and expertise as well as support them as they determine their career paths.”

“I am most excited about the novel student experience that McMaster and CNL are creating with this program”, said Amy Gottschling, Vice-President of Science, Technology and Commercial Oversight at AECL. “Our future is in the hands of young bright minds like the students at McMaster and I have no doubt they will offer insights and benefits that will help to advance research and technologies in nuclear. We welcome them to the Chalk River Laboratories and wish them a wonderful, and personally impactful experience.”



AECL, CNL and Global First Power unveil the site of GFP’s proposed small modular reactor at Chalk River Laboratories

AECL, CNL and Global First Power unveil the site of GFP’s proposed small modular reactor at Chalk River Laboratories

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and Global First Power (GFP) are pleased to announce that GFP has selected a location at the Chalk River Laboratories to site its proposed Micro-Modular™ Reactor (MMR®) project. AECL Vice-President of Science, Technology and Commercial Oversight, Amy Gottschling, CNL President & CEO, Joe McBrearty, and GFP President & CEO, Jos Diening, were joined by local elected officials, senior industry representatives and other distinguished guests yesterday to celebrate the milestone with a sign unveiling, and to mark the next phase of the exciting clean energy demonstration project.

GFP is proposing to construct and operate a 15 megawatt thermal (MWth) (approximately 5 MW electrical) MMR plant at the Chalk River campus that would serve as a model for future small modular reactor (SMR) deployments to support remote and industrial applications. The demonstration reactor technology, developed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), is designed to provide a viable clean energy solution to displace fossil fuel use and support Canada’s climate change targets. The energy output of the MMR makes it well suited for application in off-grid remote communities and industrial sites.

“GFP is thrilled to stand alongside our partners today to mark this milestone toward meeting Canada’s clean energy goals,” remarked Mr. Diening. “This site, in full view of the Chalk River main campus, demonstrates the unique suitability of the MMR to become fully integrated into remote and industrial facilities and their operations. These are precisely the qualities that make advanced nuclear microreactors essential in decarbonizing beyond the electric grid. I am proud to lead this vision and welcome the support of so many along this important path forward.”

“Today’s announcement represents our shared commitment to advancing clean energy technologies, which are critical in the fight against climate change,” said Ms. Gottschling. “The Chalk River Laboratories have been at the forefront of nuclear innovation for more than 70 years, and we continue to push the envelope, leveraging science to solve problems and benefit Canada and the world.”

“This is an incredibly exciting day, not just for AECL, CNL and GFP, but for everyone across Canada who believes in the promise of nuclear energy,” commented Mr. McBrearty. “Once constructed, this proposed reactor can demonstrate the economics, safety and performance of a new and exciting SMR technology, giving the public confidence in this next-generation nuclear solution. Overall, I believe that this location could go down in history as one of many at the Chalk River Laboratories where first-of-a-kind nuclear technologies were brought to life.”

The site of the proposed MMR demonstration reactor is currently a staff parking lot that will be repurposed to accommodate the new facility. By selecting this location, GFP will have good access to campus utilities and to CNL’s many technical and operational support services. The nearby site also has the potential to benefit CNL once the reactor is operational, who may be able to leverage the energy that is produced by the reactor in order to better operate the campus and conduct related research activities.

GFP’s proposal is also subject to regulatory processes and requirements, which are independent of CNL’s rigourous review and evaluation process. GFP has submitted an application for a Licence to Prepare Site to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and an environmental assessment for the project is underway.

To learn more about Global First Power and its MMR demonstration project, please visit

For more information on CNL and its SMR siting program, please visit

AECL Issuing a Request for Pre-Qualification as part of the Competitive Procurement Process to Renew the Contract for the Management of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

AECL Issuing a Request for Pre-Qualification as part of the Competitive Procurement Process to Renew the Contract for the Management of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a Canadian federal Crown corporation responsible to drive nuclear innovation for Canada, issued a Request for Pre-Qualification as part of the competitive procurement process to renew the contract to manage Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.

This follows a briefing for interested bidders and site tour that took place on March 23, 2023.

As part of the Request for Pre-Qualification, interested bidders will be asked to demonstrate that they meet mandatory technical criteria, financial capability requirements, security requirements, and integrity criteria.

Qualified Respondents will be able to participate in detailed consultations and provide feedback on the draft Request for Proposal and draft contract.

In the coming months, AECL will also be engaging with local communities and Indigenous communities and Nations to gather input that could help inform contractual requirements.

It is expected that the scope of work under this procurement will include the management of all AECL’s sites and assets, including the Chalk River Laboratories and other satellite sites and associated responsibilities. Of particular importance will be the advancement of AECL’s nuclear science & technology, research, and innovation agendas in order to position the Chalk River Laboratories to use its capabilities to address the priorities of Canada, including climate change.

This procurement process will not affect ongoing work, projects and priorities of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories itself is not changing and continues to be responsible for operating AECL’s sites and assets.

For more information, please visit

About AECL

AECL drives nuclear innovation to deliver clean energy technologies and improve the quality of life of Canadians while caring for the land.

As a federal Crown corporation, AECL’s mandate is to enable nuclear science and technology, derive optimal value for Canada from AECL’s CANDU intellectual property and to protect the environment by fulfilling the Government of Canada’s radioactive waste and decommissioning responsibilities.

AECL delivers its mandate through a Government-owned, Contractor-operated model, whereby a private-sector organization, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, is responsible for managing and operating AECL’s sites.

Under the Government-owned, Contractor-operated model, AECL owns the sites, facilities, assets, intellectual property and responsibility for nuclear science and technology, environmental remediation and radioactive waste management. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is responsible for the day-to-day management and operations of the sites.