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October 31, 2023

CNL and AECL continue to expand academic partnership through new agreement with Queen’s University

Canada’s national nuclear laboratory signs memorandum of understanding with one of Canada’s leading universities to explore and advance collaborative research

Chalk River, ON – October 31, 2023 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory, and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a federal Crown corporation with a mandate to drive nuclear opportunity for Canada, are pleased to announce that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Queen’s University to pursue collaborative research opportunities. The new agreement represents the seventh MOU signed between CNL, AECL and a growing list of Canadian universities, all of which are designed to cultivate closer relationships with Canada’s academic community, and to advance collaborative research in health and environmental sciences, clean energy, and safety and security.

Under terms of the agreement, Queen’s will work in partnership with AECL and CNL to facilitate ongoing engagement between their respective researchers, pursue joint research projects, and enable knowledge mobilization in shared research areas of mutual interest. Specifically, the organizations see opportunities to collaborate on nuclear waste management characterization and disposal, materials sciences related to nuclear reactor cores and plants, cybersecurity, and hydrogen production, transportation and conversion technologies.

“Along with AECL, CNL is thrilled to enter into this agreement with Queen’s University, a prestigious academic institution which is home to research programs and facilities that complement those at the Chalk River Laboratories campus,” commented Dr. Jeff Griffin, Vice-President of Science & Technology at CNL. “In particular, CNL and Queen’s have areas of shared interest in our nuclear research programs, and this agreement will allow us to explore opportunities to combine resources and expand our research objectives. The MOU also demonstrates the continued momentum and growth of our Academic Partnership Program, which is designed to help develop a new generation of researchers, scientists and technical experts in nuclear-related fields.”

“AECL has been looking to convene academia, government, and industry to advance innovation and build a talent pipeline to ensure we can deploy nuclear technologies with speed. It’s time for the nuclear industry to shine and Queen’s is a strong partner that has significant achievements in nuclear for decades,” says Dr. Amy Gottschling, AECL’s Vice President of Science and Technology. “AECL recognizes that collaborating with one of Canada’s top universities is an opportunity to combine resources, expand research, and inspire the next generation of researchers, scientists, and technical experts. Through partnerships with academia, AECL looks forward to furthering the future of nuclear science and technology in Canada.”

“With recognized research strength in nuclear materials, Queen’s is advancing understanding of the role of nuclear power in a low-carbon economy,” says Dr. Nancy Ross, Vice-Principal Research at Queen’s. “Now, in partnership with AECL and CNL, we’ll have the opportunity to further harness the expertise and resources of academia, government, and industry to pursue shared goals in research and technological innovation – helping to shape Canada’s energy transition.”

In addition to its highly respected nuclear engineering program, Queen’s is a member of the University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE), a Canadian-based alliance of universities and organizations that support the development of nuclear education and research. Queen’s is also home to the Reactor Materials Testing Laboratory (RMTL), a facility that uses a proton accelerator to introduce damage into materials at a microscopic scale, providing researchers with valuable insight into the impacts on materials within an operating reactor. These capabilities complement those at the Chalk River Laboratories, a nuclear campus operated by CNL that is home to a wide range of advanced nuclear facilities, including laboratories dedicated to nuclear fuel development and testing, biological research, analytical chemistry, thermalhydraulics and mechanical testing, among others.

By offering improved access to these shared resources and facilities, the three organizations hope to not only pursue joint research projects and programs, but also to cultivate a more talented and diverse workforce within the Canadian nuclear industry, by offering richer, more dynamic learning opportunities for Queen’s University students. 

As in previous agreements, the MOU with Queen’s University aligns with CNL’s corporate strategy, Vision 2030, which was launched last year and 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 If you would like to learn more about Vision 2030, please visit

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

About AECL

AECL is a federal Crown corporation with a mandate to drive nuclear opportunity 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. The corporation also delivered more than one billion isotopes worldwide to detect and treat cancer. Today, AECL delivers value for Canadians through supporting 14 federal departments and agencies through its Federal Nuclear Science and Technology Work Plan, and by supporting the global nuclear industry.

For more information on AECL, visit

About Queen’s University

Queen’s University has a long history of scholarship, discovery, and innovation that has shaped our collective knowledge and helped address some of the world’s most pressing concerns. Home to more than 25,000 students, the university offers a comprehensive research-intensive environment with prominent strengths in physics, cancer research, geoengineering, data analytics, surveillance studies, art conservation, and mental health research.

Welcoming and supporting students from all countries and backgrounds to a vibrant, safe, and supportive community is an important part of the Queen’s experience. Diverse perspectives and a wealth of experience enrich our campus and our community. A core part of our mission is to engage our students, staff, and faculty in international learning and research, both at home and abroad.

In 2023, for the third year in a row, Queen’s University has ranked in top 10 globally Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, securing the position of third worldwide and first in North America. The rankings measured over 1,700 post-secondary institutions on their work to advance the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

For more information on Queen’s, visit


AECL Contact

Director of Communications and Government Reporting
Jeremy Latta
Phone: 343-303-5448
Email: [email protected] 

CNL Contact:

Director of Corporate Communications
Philip Kompass
Phone: 1-866-886-2325
Email: [email protected]

Photo caption: Dr. Jeff Griffin, CNL’s Vice-President of Science and Technology; Dr. Nancy Ross, Queen’s Vice-Principal Research; and Dr. Amy Gottschling, AECL’s Vice-President of Science and Technology; sign a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue collaborative research opportunities in health and environmental sciences, clean energy, and safety and security.

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