Atomic Energy of Canada Limited


Canada’s first small modular reactor project reaches licencing milestone

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a federal Crown corporation with a mandate to enable nuclear science and technology, and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, are pleased to congratulate Global First Power (GFP) on achieving an important milestone for their small modular reactor (SMR) project. Earlier today, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), announced that GFP’s application for a Licence to Prepare Site for an SMR project at the Chalk River Laboratories has completed preliminary evaluations, and is now moving on to formal licence review.

“This is a major development towards achieving Canada’s climate change goals,” commented Fred Dermarkar, President and CEO at AECL. “Nuclear energy and SMRs will have to be part of our energy mix if we want to meet our objective of reaching net-zero by 2050. As pioneers of innovative nuclear technology in this country, it is exciting to see continued progress towards the deployment of this promising clean energy technology at our Chalk River site.”

Since its inception in the 1940s, AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories has hosted several first-of-a-kind nuclear reactors and technologies. The campus is home to world-leading experts in nuclear engineering, chemistry, physics and environmental protection, and offers a full complement of other nuclear support services.

“I would like to congratulate the team at Global First Power on reaching this significant milestone,” commented Joe McBrearty, President and CEO at CNL. “The licensing of a new nuclear reactor must be underpinned by a robust scientific understanding, and sound environmental research. The acceptance of this licence application into formal review is evidence of the viability and safety of this project, and the diligence of the GFP team in preparing their application.”

Both AECL and CNL have identified SMRs as one of several strategic initiatives the company is pursuing, with the goal of siting a demonstration project on one of AECL’s sites, which are managed by CNL. Together, both organizations are working to demonstrate the commercial viability of SMRs and have positioned Canada as a global leader in SMR prototype testing and technology development support. As part of the program, CNL issued an invitation in 2018 to SMR developers to apply to site an SMR demonstration reactor at a CNL-managed site. GFP is in stage three of CNL’s four-stage process, and with this recent CNSC announcement, GFP is the most advanced concept towards demonstration.

For more information on CNL, including its SMR program, please visit

About AECL

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) is a federal Crown corporation with an objective of driving nuclear innovation and cleaning up legacy wastes. AECL delivers its mandate through a long-term contract with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) for the management and operation of its sites.

About CNL

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is a world leader in nuclear science and technology offering unique capabilities and solutions across a wide range of industries. Actively involved with industry-driven research and development in nuclear, transportation, clean technology, energy, defence, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally.

With ongoing investments in new facilities and a focused mandate, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is well positioned for the future. A new performance standard reinforced with a strong safety culture underscores every activity.

For more information on the complete range of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories services, please visit or contact

AECL Contact:

Maude-Émilie Pagé
Director, Communications and Government Reporting
343-303-5345 or

CNL Contact:

Patrick Quinn

Director, Corporate Communications

CNL, 1-866-886-2325