Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) have signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with Ontario Tech University and McMaster University that will advance collaborative research in health and environmental sciences, clean energy, and nuclear safety. This follows another MOU signed earlier this fall with the University of Ottawa and, together, create a strong framework for AECL and CNL to build closer and consistent relationships with Canada’s academic institutions.
These agreements will promote knowledge mobilization and spur innovation and the development of intellectual property. The MOUs will encourage academic institutions to work alongside AECL and CNL to conduct joint research programs, create the conditions to train a highly qualified workforce, and share access to specialized infrastructure.
Together, AECL, CNL and McMaster operate some of the most unique and advanced nuclear facilities and research laboratories, not just in Canada, but around the world. The McMaster Nuclear Reactor, which is used to conduct research and produce medical isotopes, is considered the most powerful research reactor at any Canadian university. Meanwhile, the Chalk River Laboratories, which is managed by CNL on behalf of AECL, is home to a wide range of advanced nuclear research facilities that enable nuclear fuel development and testing, biological research, analytical chemistry, thermalhydraulics and mechanical testing. AECL, CNL and McMaster University share a long history working together to advance Canadian nuclear science and technology, which laid the groundwork for this MOU.
Ontario Tech University is the only Canadian university with an accredited Nuclear Engineering undergraduate program, which is the third largest in North America. The university plays a critical role in training the next generation of nuclear scientists, engineers and operators. Together, the organizations will explore opportunities to develop undergraduate and graduate learning experiences in the form of co-op and internship placements; encourage mentorship and networking programs for students; establish employment mechanisms for graduates and alumni; and facilitate the development of research chairs and research teams.
“AECL is proud to announce these partnerships with Ontario Tech University and McMaster University,” says Dr. Amy Gottschling, AECL’s Vice President, Science, Technology & Commercial Oversight. “This is an exciting opportunity which helps fulfil our mandate at AECL – to enable nuclear science and technology in a strategic way with strong academic partners.”
“CNL has made it an organizational priority to work closer with Canada’s academic community,” said Dr. Jeff Griffin, CNL’s Vice-President of Science and Technology. “Working in partnership with Ontario Tech University and McMaster University allows us to pool our financial resources, accelerate early-stage research, facilitate the transfer of knowledge, and work together to address the needs of the nuclear industry and the federal government.”
“Ontario Tech University is excited to enter this agreement with both AECL and CNL in strategic areas that include small modular reactors, hydrogen, and integrated energy systems,” said Dr. Les Jacobs, Vice-President of Research and Innovation at Ontario Tech University. “Through our strong history of energy and nuclear research expertise and programming, Ontario Tech plays a unique energy industry role as a developer of future talent and business solutions creator.”