Canada’s national nuclear laboratory enters new decade with significant achievements in clean energy, public health, nuclear security and environmental remediation

Chalk River, ON, January 24, 2020 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce that it realized a number of major accomplishments in 2019 across program areas that include clean energy, public health, nuclear security and environmental remediation. On behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), CNL is working to protect Canada’s environment by reducing and effectively managing the Government of Canada’s nuclear legacy liabilities, support the science and technology needs of the Government of Canada and commercial customers around the globe, and revitalize AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories campus.

“2019 was another successful year for CNL marked by meaningful progress across all of our missions,” commented Mark Lesinski, CNL President & CEO. “We continue to pursue a clean energy future through our small modular reactor and hydrogen programs. Our work in environmental remediation is proceeding efficiently and safely, with 13 buildings removed from the Chalk River site in 2019 and major milestones reached at Whiteshell and Port Hope. And we continue to conduct cutting edge research in targeted alpha therapy, a promising new form of cancer treatment. These achievements and many others put us on good footing for another strong year in 2020, as we continue our important work on behalf of Canadians.”

Some of the accomplishments completed by CNL in 2019 include:

• The small modular reactor (SMR) siting initiative progressed well as CNL moves closer towards hosting an SMR built on a CNL-managed site before 2030. Marking a first in Canada, one vendor active in CNL’s siting invitation has begun the initial stages of the licensing process with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

• CNL was awarded a 10-year long-term agreement to conduct pressure tube and garter spring surveillance in support of the CANDU fleet of reactors. CNL has extensive experience supporting the CANDU design, and this work will help to ensure their continued safe and reliable operation.

• CNL is working with public and private-sector partners to complete a special nuclear material detection campaign. The data collected will help to further strengthen Canada’s capabilities for the detection of illicit nuclear materials at its borders.

• CNL performed its first commercial research work related to targeted alpha therapy (TAT). This revolutionary new form of treatment has shown exciting potential in early studies, killing cancer cells effectively without doing damage to surrounding, healthy cells.

• In anticipation of future commercial opportunities in health sciences, CNL has been working to prepare its Biological Research Facility for recognition as an OECD Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) facility. OECD GLP principles cover virtually all aspects of non-clinical health and environmental safety studies, and the designation enables better cooperation among GLP recognized facilities.

• CNL’s decommissioning team continues to make strong progress, safely decommissioning aging and redundant infrastructure, addressing legacy waste liabilities, and cleaning up the Chalk River campus.  In 2019, the team removed 13 buildings, and safely managed the resulting 26 tons of asbestos, 165 tons of low-level radioactive waste and 785 tons of clean decommissioning debris.

• CNL submitted a revised draft of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for its proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) to the CNSC. The submission of the revised draft EIS represents the culmination of two years of work for CNL as part of the environmental assessment process to build the NSDF, a disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste at CNL’s Chalk River Laboratories campus.

• In Port Hope, remediation was completed on the former Welcome Waste Management Facility with the removal of approximately 807,000 tons of waste. Remediation and restoration was also completed at 31 commercial and residential properties within the Port Hope community.

• CNL was granted a five-year decommissioning licence for its Whiteshell site by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission following a two day hearing last fall in Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba. The new licence encompasses the remaining term of the decommissioning project.

• At the Chalk River campus, the mass timber structure for CNL’s new Logistics Centre was completed, and significant progress has been made on the new Support Facility. Through careful engineering, design and construction, CNL is delivering the most carbon-friendly and energy efficient buildings it can.

• CNL continues to grow its relationships and connections with local schools, community groups and interested members of the public.  In 2019, CNL facilitated 39 public events, 20 in-school presentations, and hosted nearly two dozen groups of students from local schools.

For more information on CNL 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