Atomic Energy of Canada Limited


Canada, United States, Announce Completion of Nuclear Material Shipping Project

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) today announced the completion of a multi-year project to repatriate highly enriched uranium (HEU) liquid target residue material from the Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, Canada to the Savannah River Site in Aiken, South Carolina.   

The material was the by-product of the production of medical isotopes from AECL’s National Research Universal reactor. While the research reactor is now shutdown, for many decades it produced medical isotopes used for the treatment and diagnosis of cancer and other diseases. Over the years, this benefited billions of people in Canada and around the world. The medical isotopes were produced using HEU supplied by the United States.   

The shipping project, which began in 2017 and finished in August of 2020, involved 115 separate truck shipments, resulting in the return of more than 161 kilograms of HEU. Over the four-years of the campaign, the shipments covered more than 240,000 kilometers of safe and secure transportation, equivalent to traveling around the earth six times.    

Together, the completion of this shipping campaign, along with the recently completed campaign of spent nuclear fuel from the National Research Universal and National Research Experimental research reactors, resulted in the repatriation of more than 367 kilograms of HEU.  

This not only reduces Canada’s environmental liabilities and risks, it also serves our nuclear security and non-proliferation objectives by reducing the availability of this material.  

The target residue material was returned to the United States under the U.S.-Origin Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel Acceptance Program, which was established in 1996 with the mission to repatriate U.S.-origin spent nuclear fuel and other weapons-grade nuclear material from civilian sites worldwide.  

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, the United States Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and Savannah River National Laboratory were key partners and played a pivotal role in the success of the campaign. AECL and DOE/NNSA continue to explore the repatriation of additional highly enriched uranium and other materials over the next several years. 

Press release from the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA)) :

Fred Dermarkar to Assume the Position of President and CEO of AECL

The Government of Canada has appointed Fred Dermarkar to take over as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) effective February 7, 2021.

Fred will replace Richard Sexton, who will retire after 38 years in the industry when his mandate ends in February. Richard has served as AECL’s President and CEO since February 2018, and was interim President and CEO and Acting Chief Transition Officer of AECL for almost two years prior to that.

“I would like to thank Richard for his service to AECL over the past five years. He has played an integral role in establishing AECL as a strong oversight organization and in advancing AECL’s nuclear science and environmental remediation mandates”, said James Burpee, Chair of the Board of AECL.

“It has been an honour to be part of the renewal of nuclear research and development in Canada at a time when nuclear energy is recognized as an important part of Canada’s low-carbon energy goals”, said Richard Sexton.

Fred Dermarkar will join AECL following close to seven years as the President and CEO of the CANDU Owners Group (COG). Prior to that, he held a variety of technical and executive positions at Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and has 40 years experience in the Canadian nuclear sector. “As countries around the world consider the importance of nuclear energy as part of a clean energy mix, AECL has an important role to play in seeing that Canada remains at the forefront of nuclear innovation. I am excited to contribute to AECL’s success in that area and to advance AECL’s environmental remediation mandate”, said Fred Dermarkar.

As a federal Crown corporation, AECL’s mandate is to enable nuclear science and technology and to protect the environment by fulfilling the Government of Canada’s radioactive waste and decommissioning responsibilities.

Made-in-Canada ventilator now available thanks to the contribution and ingenuity of our national laboratories

Made-in-Canada ventilator now available thanks to the contribution and ingenuity of our national laboratories

Today, Vexos Inc., an electronics manufacturing and custom materials solutions company, received authorization from Health Canada for the Mechanical Ventilator Milano (MVM) ventilator. 

The MVM ventilator was born out of the collaboration of national and international team who came together to develop a ventilator model which is easy-to-produce, using off-the-shelf, easily accessible parts. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), which operates our sites, was part of the MVM consortium and mobilized its scientists and engineers to apply their expertise in support of this important initiative. 

As we continue to face challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is another example of how the global community is coming together to solve complex problems. 

At AECL, we are proud to support Canada’s response to the pandemic. Our sites are home to some of Canada’s most unique and innovative facilities, laboratories, equipment and, most importantly, expertise. CNL mobilized its scientistsengineers, technical staff and facilities to contribute to the national response to COVID-19. This is a clear example of the value of these scientific capabilities and assets.  

Today’s announcement paves the way for Vexos to manufacture and supply 10,000 ventilators as part of a national, made-in-Canada, effort to treat patients most severely affected by the COVID-19 virus. Vexos will now start shipping the MVM ventilators to the Government of Canada.  

The MVM consortium was initiated in Italy and grew to include physicists, engineers, and business leaders from around the world, including here in Canada: Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, TRIUMF, SNOLAB, McDonald Institute, Vexos and JMP Solutions.  

Regulatory authorization of the ventilator is the culmination of the ingenuity and tireless efforts of the entire MVM consortium 

I am incredibly proud of how employees at AECL and CNL, together with our partners across the country, are collaborating during this difficult and challenging time. 

Richard J. Sexton
President and CEO of AECL 

For more information on Vexos
For more information on the MVM consortium: