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AECL, CNL and AtkinsRéalis team up to bolster Canada’s strategic heavy water supply in support of CANDU technology

Chalk River, ON – May 13, 2024 –Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), and AtkinsRéalis are pleased to announce that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore opportunities to collaborate on heavy water production. The agreement comes amidst renewed interest in domestic nuclear energy production in Canada, including the potential deployment of large-scale nuclear power reactors in Ontario, which may require significant volumes of heavy water to operate, depending on the design selected.

As the owner and operator of Canada’s national nuclear laboratories, AECL and CNL collectively maintain the necessary expertise, technology, facilities and intellectual property (IP) necessary for the production, management and upgrading of heavy water, a form of water that is used as a moderator and coolant in Canada’s current fleet of CANDU® reactors. These capabilities complement those at AtkinsRéalis, an international leader in the nuclear industry and steward of CANDU technology that has introduced a next-generation CANDU reactor. Known as the CANDU® MONARKTM, the 1,000 MW nuclear reactor would require the use of heavy water in its operation, like other CANDU reactors, and represents the only large-scale reactor developed domestically in Canada.

“Alongside our client, AECL, CNL is thrilled to enter into this MOU with AtkinsRéalis, an agreement that leverages our extensive expertise and resources in heavy water production, and which acts as a meaningful step forward in the deployment of home-grown, large-scale nuclear power here in Canada,” commented Jack Craig, CNL’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “As operator of AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories, which is the birthplace of the CANDU reactor, CNL is well-versed in this technology, and we play a significant role in ensuring its safe and reliable operation around the world. The CANDU reactor design is a proven technology and CNL will continue to support the technology now and into the future, which includes establishing the necessary heavy water inventory and production capabilities.”

“I am pleased that AECL, CNL and AtkinsRéalis are collaborating and working together to advance heavy water production for CANDU reactor technology. CANDU technology is uniquely positioned to contribute to important national objectives such as decarbonization, energy security, economic growth and maintaining Canada’s Tier-1 nuclear nation status,” said Fred Dermarkar, President & Chief Executive Officer of AECL.

“CANDU technology, as Canada’s only domestically developed large scale nuclear technology, is a source of national pride,” said Joe St. Julian, President, Nuclear, AtkinsRéalis. “We are honoured to continue stewarding and enhancing its reputation as a leading global nuclear technology. A reliable supply of heavy water will also safeguard the supply of the global isotope market with cancer-fighting nuclear medicine, as CANDU reactors— with Ontario’s supplying 50% of the world’s supply of Cobalt 60 — are the only commercial scale reactors that can produce such medical isotopes while also producing power at the same time.”

According to terms of the MOU, the organizations will explore opportunities to work together, along with additional strategic partners whose expertise could accelerate technologies, to either produce or upgrade heavy water that could be used in the commissioning and operation of new CANDU reactors in Canada. All three organizations recognize that the construction of CANDU reactor new builds would require significant volumes of heavy water, a need that would require the construction of new facilities in Canada. They also have a shared interest in advancing this technology towards deployment that goes beyond commercial opportunities, recognizing that it contributes to important national policy objectives in Canada, including decarbonisation, energy security, economic growth and maintaining Canada’s position as a leading nuclear nation. In addition to the current collaboration, AECL and CNL intend to play a leadership role in additional initiatives to support the success of this nascent industry in Canada.

“As the owner of CANDU intellectual property licensed to Candu Energy Inc. and owner of Canada’s national nuclear laboratory at Chalk River, Ontario, managed and operated by CNL, AECL is committed to seeing its CANDU technology and the unique capability of its national laboratory leveraged for the benefit of Canadians,” commented Grant Gardiner, EVP, Business Strategy & Development. “We believe establishing a secure, domestic and economically viable supply of heavy water is vital to the continuing success of CANDU technology and are proud of the unique capability that our national laboratory brings to this effort.”

Heavy water is a form of water in which the normal hydrogen is replaced by a heavier form of hydrogen called deuterium. In the case of CANDU® reactors, heavy water has two applications – first, it is used as a moderator to slow the speed of neutrons during the fission process, which allows operators to regulate the reactor’s power output. It is also used as a coolant, circulating throughout the reactor core to cool it down and keep it to the desired temperature. Leveraging AECL’s facilities and IP, CNL is a world leader in the production, management and upgrading of heavy water.

“The deployment of large-scale nuclear power in Canada is an enormous undertaking, and will require extensive alignment and coordination between organizations, industries, public officials and regulators from across the country,” added Jack Craig. “Heavy water is one key piece of the larger puzzle, and AECL and CNL are working together to play a leadership role in this process, ensuring that the broader industry is working towards a shared vision, and that the necessary inventory and production capabilities are in place to supply these reactors. CNL looks forward to leveraging our world-leading expertise, experience and CNL-managed, AECL-owned IP in heavy water production and upgrading to support the deployment of new CANDU reactors in Canada with AtkinsRéalis. By doing so, we will strive to make Canada the leader in the global heavy water market.”

For more information on AECL, please visit www.aecl.ca. If you’d like to learn more about CNL, including its work related to heavy water production and management, please visit www.cnl.ca. For additional details on AtkinsRéalis and the CANDU® MONARKTM, visit www.atkinsrealis.com/monark.

 

About Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) is a federal Crown corporation with a mandate to drive nuclear opportunities for Canada. Working through a government-owned / contractor-operated (GoCo) model that is executed by its contractor, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, AECL enables nuclear science and technology through its Chalk River Laboratories, Canada’s largest research complex, and by engaging with academia and private industry to advance nuclear innovation. It is committed to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It also manages the Government of Canada’s radioactive waste responsibilities. AECL continues to own the intellectual property for the CANDU® reactor technology and is accountable for deriving optimal benefit from this technology for Canada.  Read more on AECL at www.aecl.ca.

 

About CNL
As Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory and working under the direction of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (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 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.

To learn more about CNL, please visit www.cnl.ca.

 

About AtkinsRéalis
Created by the integration of long-standing organizations dating back to 1911, AtkinsRéalis is a world-leading professional services and project management company dedicated to engineering a better future for our planet and its people. We create sustainable solutions that connect people, data and technology to transform the world’s infrastructure and energy systems. We deploy global capabilities locally to our clients and deliver unique end-to-end services across the whole life cycle of an asset including consulting, advisory & environmental services, intelligent networks & cybersecurity, design & engineering, procurement, project & construction management, operations & maintenance, decommissioning and capital. The breadth and depth of our capabilities are delivered to clients in key strategic sectors such as Engineering Services, Nuclear, Operations & Maintenance and Capital. News and information are available at www.atkinsrealis.com or on LinkedIn.

 

Media Contact
Jeremy Latta
Director, Communications and Government Reporting
1-343-303-5345
communcations@aecl.ca.

Kathleen Heppell-Masys to assume the role of Vice-President, Nuclear Operations Oversight

Kathleen Heppell-Masys to assume the role of Vice-President, Nuclear Operations Oversight

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) is pleased to welcome Kathleen Heppell-Masys as Vice-President, Nuclear Operations Oversight, effective March 20, 2023.

In this role, Kathleen will be responsible for the oversight of CNL activities related to site operations and infrastructure, including nuclear operations, health, safety, security and environment.

Kathleen brings significant senior leadership experience in the development of nuclear regulatory policies and in the regulatory oversight of nuclear safety, security, international safeguards, non-proliferation and safety management of the Canadian nuclear fuel cycle. She has worked for the Department of National Defence and in the Canadian Armed Forces including serving as an Aerospace Engineering Officer for the engineering and maintenance of military aircrafts and facilities. Most recently, she was the Director General of Security and Safeguards at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

AECL, CNL and Western University to collaborate on joint research under new agreement

AECL, CNL and Western University to collaborate on joint research under new agreement

Collaborative research agreement with one of Canada’s leading universities continues growth of academic partnership network for Canada’s national nuclear laboratories.

Chalk River, ON – February 15, 2023 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory, and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Canada’s nuclear Crown corporation, are pleased to announce that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Western University to pursue collaborative research opportunities. Both CNL and AECL have made it an organizational priority to cultivate closer relationships with Canada’s academic community, and this MOU with Western University represents the fifth agreement with a growing list of universities designed to advance collaborative research in health and environmental sciences, clean energy and nuclear safety.

The agreement includes an extensive list of focus areas where the organizations will collaborate, including imaging and radiopharmaceuticals; cybersecurity; high-performance computing and artificial intelligence; hydrogen; materials science and degradation; decommissioning and waste management; and advanced and small modular reactors, fuels and power grids. The agreement is intended to nurture closer relationships with Western’s research community, enable knowledge mobilization, spur innovation and the development of intellectual property, and to provide solutions that address national and industry challenges.

“Last year, CNL released a new corporate strategy, known as Vision 2030, where we announced our plans to pursue closer relationships with Canada’s academic community, including research-oriented universities like Western University,” commented Dr. Jeff Griffin, CNL’s Vice-President of Science and Technology. “A few short months later, we have made incredible progress towards that vision, culminating in this most recent agreement. Overall, there are tremendous advantages to this collaborative approach to research for all parties, whether it is sharing scientific and technical data, leveraging complementary resources, or developing new capabilities, and that is the motivation behind this new partnership with Western University.”

“AECL and CNL are uniquely positioned to bring together the foundational research undertaken at Western University, with private industry needs in innovation,” commented Amy Gottschling, Vice-President, Science, Technology and Commercial Oversight at AECL. “Together, we can leverage our complementary expertise and capabilities to bring technologies to bear to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.”

“This is an exciting new partnership for Western – one that builds on over 20 years of nuclear research across three of our faculties: Engineering, Science, and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry,” commented Dr. Dave Muir, Associate Vice-President of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at Western University. “This new partnership will support and provide funding for research projects as well as Chair opportunities in the areas of health, safety, security, energy, and the environment. It also will enable our students to have increased access to experiential learning, through research project and internship opportunities.”

As one of Canada’s top research-intensive universities, the science carried out at Western University intersects with many of the projects underway at Canada’s national nuclear laboratories. The driving force behind the agreement is the shared interest in exploring collaboration opportunities based on these mutual fields of research, and to help foster the development of highly qualified people here in Canada. By providing better access to the unique facilities that are available at Canada’s national nuclear laboratories, CNL and AECL hope to contribute to the professional development of the next generation of nuclear scientists and engineers, and offer these students a more dynamic and rich learning experience.

The MOU with Western University aligns with CNL’s corporate strategy, Vision 2030, which identifies what CNL views as its central role within the future Canadian nuclear landscape. Serving as a national resource to all levels of government, the nuclear industry, the broader private sector and the academic community, CNL aims to work in concert with other organizations to help advance innovative Canadian products and services towards deployment, including carbon-free energy, cancer treatments and other therapies, non-proliferation technologies and waste management solutions.

To learn more about CNL, including its research projects and programs, please visit www.cnl.ca. If you would like to learn more about Vision 2030, please visit www.cnl.ca/vision2030.

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.

To learn more about CNL, please visit www.cnl.ca.

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.

For more information on AECL, visit www.aecl.ca.

About Western

Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.