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June 12, 2018

CNL announces strong interest in siting an SMR demonstration unit

Canada’s national nuclear laboratory receives responses from four SMR proponents seeking to construct small modular reactor demonstration projects at CNL-managed sites

Chalk River, ON, June 12, 2018 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce that four small modular reactor (SMR) project proponents have submitted responses to CNL’s recent Invitation for SMR Demonstration Projects at a CNL-managed site. The invitation, which began with an optional pre-qualification stage, is an opportunity for CNL to evaluate technical and business merits of proposed designs, assess the financial viability of the projects, and review the necessary national security and integrity requirements.

CNL concluded the first intake on June 11, 2018, with responses received from four international and domestic SMR project proponents. While this intake is now closed, technology developers are welcome to submit their responses at any time.

“Since its inception, CNL’s small modular reactor program has garnered interest from around the world. That momentum continues to build, with a response to our invitation that has already exceeded our expectations,” commented Mark Lesinski, CNL’s President and CEO. “These exciting new nuclear technologies will serve as part of an integrated clean energy system enabling increased use of solar and wind energy, or hydrogen production, for example. The world needs improved access to clean energy, and the tremendous benefits offered by SMRs, including a reduced size, simpler but safer designs, and a reduced staff complement, make nuclear a very appealing technology to fill that void.”

CNL has identified SMRs as one of seven strategic initiatives it is pursuing as part of its Long-Term Strategy, with the goal of siting an SMR on one of the sites it manages before 2030. The company is working to demonstrate the commercial viability of SMRs and position itself as a global hub in SMR prototype testing and technology development support.

“The reactor designs being proposed are both evolutionary – building on the strengths of past nuclear technologies, and revolutionary, with innovative advances in efficiency, safety and technical design,” commented Corey McDaniel, CNL’s Vice-President of Business Development. “As Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, we’re excited to review these responses and consider the technologies, as well as the potential benefits to Canada, to ensure they are viable projects worthy of pursuing.”

The Invitation for SMR Demonstration Projects includes four distinct stages. Following the optional Pre-Qualification stage, which will assess proponents against preliminary criteria, applicants must complete the Due Diligence stage, which will include more stringent financial requirements and a full assessment of funding and project costs. The third phase, Negotiation of Land Arrangement and Other Contracts, would culminate in the signing of an agreement with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the owner of the sites. Finally, the Project Execution stage would include licensing and construction, testing, commissioning, operation, and eventual decommissioning of the SMR unit.

All projects successful in CNL’s invitation are also subject to separate regulatory processes and requirements.

CNL is currently performing generic siting studies for the Chalk River Laboratories and Whiteshell Laboratories to identify the potential locations suitable for construction of SMR demonstration units. The company also continues to engage with stakeholders and members of its local communities, to gather their input and feedback on hosting a demonstration project. These outreach activities include information sessions, webinars, industry meetings and roundtables.

For ongoing updates on CNL’s SMR development program, SMR project proponents and members of the public are encouraged to visit

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 [email protected].



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

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