Partnership agreement between research laboratories designed to spur collaboration in clean energy, medical isotopes, and waste management and decommissioning

Chalk River, ON – March 04, 2020 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce that it has developed an Action Plan under its existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), a nuclear services technology provider owned and operated by the Government of the United Kingdom (UK). Designed to foster collaboration in research areas that include clean energy, medical isotopes, waste management and decommissioning, the Action Plan was established to address shared opportunities and challenges between Canada and the United Kingdom related to climate change, public health and environment stewardship, among others.

Under the Action Plan, CNL and NNL will work in partnership to explore and pursue joint research projects and studies, information exchange workshops and other resource and knowledge-sharing opportunities. In particular, both parties have identified research related to advance nuclear reactor fuel, targeted alpha therapy and medical isotope production, and environmental remediation practices and technologies as key areas that the laboratories intend to pursue in partnership.

“Canada and the United Kingdom have a long history of working together to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges through nuclear science and technology,” commented Mark Lesinski, CNL’s President and CEO. “But we still have a lot to learn from one another, and I am thrilled that this tradition of collaboration will continue through this agreement. The Action Plan will allow CNL and NNL to share expertise, facilities, equipment and other resources to achieve key public policy goals in Canada and the UK, including the development of new technologies to better protect the environment, fight climate change and treat many difficult forms of cancer.”

“Collaborative working is an essential part of how NNL operates and succeeds,” commented Paul Howarth, NNL’s Chief Executive Officer. “The MOU between CNL and NNL has been an excellent way of opening links between our two organisations. However, this Action Plan takes us a big step further forward and means that we will now begin to see outputs from our collaboration which will benefit both the UK and Canada.”

As Canada’s national nuclear laboratory, CNL’s Chalk River Laboratories campus is home to a number of facilities and nuclear services ranging from research and development, design and engineering to specialized technology, waste management and decommissioning. Among the many activities being carried out at the site, CNL is currently working to demonstrate the commercial viability of small modular reactors (SMR), with the goal of siting Canada’s first SMR before 2030; to advance the availability and scientific understanding of actinium-225, a rare medical isotope that has shown great promise as the basis for new, cutting-edge cancer therapies; and to address the Government of Canada’s nuclear legacy liabilities through the planning and execution of a number of major decommissioning and environmental remediation projects.

“Whether it’s the development of next-generation nuclear reactors or the production and processing of medical isotopes to fight cancer, CNL’s research activities intersect quite closely with the work being carried out by NNL,” added Lesinski. “With that in mind, it is clearly in the best interest of both organisations to carry out this research in concert with one another, and I’m confident this fruitful relationship will continue for years to come.”

The announcement builds on the strong record of collaboration between Canada and the UK that dates all the way back to the 1940s, when both countries established a laboratory in Montreal to jointly begin research into the creation of controlled nuclear power. CNL previously signed an MOU with NNL in 2016 to collaborate on a variety of projects in reactor metallurgy, fuel development, waste management and medical radioisotopes. Most recently, CNL also signed an MOU with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) at the Canada-UK Energy Summit in 2018.

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Patrick Quinn
Director, Corporate Communications
CNL, 1-866-886-2325