AECL’s role is to:
Act as an agent of Government;
Support the Government’s development of nuclear policy; and
Set priorities for CNL, oversee the contract and assess CNL’s performance
AECL delivers its mandate through a Government-owned, Contractor-operated (GoCo) model, whereby a private-sector organization, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), is responsible for managing and operating AECL’s sites.
Under the GoCo model, AECL owns the sites, facilities, assets, intellectual property and responsibility for environmental remediation and radioactive waste management. CNL is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the sites.
AECL brings best value to Canada by playing a challenge function to its contractor, CNL, with a view to advancing its priorities in the most effective and efficient manner, while maintaining safety, security and the protection of the environment.
AECL accepts CNL’s annual plans, and CNL’s performance is then systematically monitored and assessed based on targets and measures set out by AECL at the beginning of each year. AECL also oversees two target-cost contracts, also with CNL, for the decommissioning and closure of two nuclear sites; the Nuclear Power Demonstration reactor, in Ontario, and the Whiteshell Laboratories, in Manitoba.
AECL’s objectives under the GoCo model include accelerating the environmental stewardship program, managing the Federal Nuclear Science and Technology Work Plan for nuclear science and technology in support of government priorities and needs, and building a world-class nuclear laboratory that fulfills government requirements and grows commercial revenues while reducing or containing costs and risks to Canada.
AECL relies on a small complement of national and international experts who bring experience in the management of similar arrangements, both from a government and contractor perspective. The objective is for AECL to have the necessary expertise and capabilities to oversee the GoCo contract and play an appropriate oversight and challenge function to achieve value for money for the Canadian government.