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 and CNL to host Annual Community Update on the future of the Chalk River Laboratories

Community invited to learn more about Canada’s national nuclear laboratories through public webinar discussing current projects and future plans

Chalk River, ON – March 14, 2023 – Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) are pleased to announce that they will be hosting a live public address later this month to provide the community with an update on the future of the Chalk River Laboratories. The webinar will be accessible through CNL’s website and streamed on its social media platforms. It will cover topics such as the revitalization of the Chalk River campus, new and exciting projects underway in clean energy, health sciences and nuclear security, and CNL’s major environmental remediation and cleanup projects.


Community Update

Wednesday, March 29

7:00 – 8:30 p.m. EST


(English and French streams available. Opportunities to submit questions will follow the prepared remarks. Registration in advance is encouraged.)


Interested members of the public, Indigenous communities, elected officials and other residents and organizations are all encouraged to register for the webinar in advance at The public webinar will provide an opportunity for the public to engage with AECL and CNL, and learn more about the many exciting nuclear science and technology projects that are underway at the site.


“The Chalk River Laboratories are closely embedded in the local community, and our collective futures are connected,” said Fred Dermarkar, President and CEO of AECL.  “We have an important role to play in the fight against climate change, with nuclear science and technology being part of the solution not only for the environment, but also to improve the health and safety of Canadians. I look forward to updating the community and hearing their thoughts on how we’re doing.”


“Last year, CNL was very impressed by the turnout and feedback we received from our first community update, and the genuine interest that was shown in the future of the Chalk River Laboratories,” commented Joe McBrearty, CNL’s President and CEO. “More importantly, the webinar provided us with insight into the many questions, concerns and interests of local residents. As a result, CNL and AECL have decided to make this an annual engagement, and we hope that our friends and neighbours will once again take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the bright future that we are pursuing at Canada’s national nuclear laboratories.”


While the webinar is being organized to help inform the public about the many projects and activities that are underway and on the horizon at the Chalk River Laboratories, the organizers also hope that it will provide them with a better understanding of the public attitudes towards AECL, CNL and their program of work. With that in mind, the event is being structured to be as interactive and engaging as possible, with a significant period of time allotted for participant questions and to encourage two-way conversations between the public and representatives from AECL and CNL.


For more information on CNL, including details on the webinar, please visit For more information on AECL, please visit


About AECL


AECL is a federal Crown corporation with a mandate to drive nuclear opportunities for Canada. AECL enables nuclear science and technology, owns the Chalk River Laboratories and other sites, and manages the Government of Canada’s radioactive waste responsibilities. It oversees and evaluates CNL’s work through contracts.

In business since 1952, AECL designed and developed the fleet of CANDU nuclear reactors that serve Canada and five other countries. It also delivered more than one billion isotopes worldwide to detect and treat cancer. Today it delivers value for Canadians through supporting 14 federal departments and agencies, as well as the global nuclear industry.



About CNL


As Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory, and working under the direction of AECL, CNL is a world leader in the development of innovative nuclear science and technology products and services. Guided by an ambitious corporate strategy known as Vision 2030, CNL fulfills three strategic priorities of national importance – restoring and protecting the environment, advancing clean energy technologies, and contributing to the health of Canadians.

By leveraging the assets owned by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), CNL also serves as the nexus between government, the nuclear industry, the broader private sector and the academic community. CNL works in collaboration with these sectors to advance innovative Canadian products and services towards real-world use, including carbon-free energy, cancer treatments and other therapies, non-proliferation technologies and waste management solutions.


AECL Contact:

Maude-Émilie Pagé

Director, Communications and Government Reporting



CNL Contact:

Patrick Quinn

Director, Corporate Communications