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May 25, 2018

CNL reflects on a successful year

The 2017/18 fiscal year at Canada’s national nuclear laboratory saw significant progress in science & technology, liability management and campus revitalization

Chalk River, ON, May 25, 2018 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce the release of its summary report on the 2017/18 fiscal year.  Entitled “Working in Partnership” the report highlights some of the many achievements delivered by CNL over the last 12 months.

“This been a year of transformation for CNL,” explains Mark Lesinski, President & CEO. “New processes and procedures have been established, and momentum has built across all our missions. Important to our future success, word of our performance is spreading. I have the pleasure of representing CNL on the world stage, and I am routinely stopped and engaged in conversation by people who have heard of the great work being done at CNL, the bright future, the exciting science, and the brilliant new campus under development.”

“Based on the priorities set out by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, CNL responded with an ambitious vision that is already starting to take shape,” commented Richard Sexton, President and CEO of AECL. “Important and innovative science is responding to the needs of the Government and tackling substantive health, energy and environmental issues. Work on revitalizing the Chalk River Laboratories has started and changes to the sites are visible – redundant buildings are being removed and contaminated sites are being remediated, and other changes are happening behind the scenes, like process transformation and culture change. Importantly, all of these changes are contributing to bringing significant benefits to the workforce, the community and Canada more broadly.”

While a number of achievements and successes worth highlighting are noted below, a more substantial list can be found in the summary report available on CNL’s web site.

• The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Canada’s independent nuclear regulator, approved CNL’s application to renew the operating licence for the Chalk River Laboratories nuclear campus. CNL’s application was based on a track record of solid safety and environmental performance; this new 10-year licence reflects current efforts and our future plans to create a stronger, more resilient and enduring national laboratory.

• Working in partnership with our supply chain and local businesses is vital to the successful delivery of our work. CNL has launched a Vendor Portal which makes published procurement opportunities more visible to the broader supply chain, and helps to create opportunities for local and small businesses to engage with CNL.

• CNL received input from 80 stakeholders on the potential for small modular reactor deployment in Canada. This discussion helped to inform the recent invitation for siting an SMR demonstration project at a CNL-managed site. As a low-carbon source of energy, these reactors are well-aligned with global desire to reduce our carbon footprint.

• CNL established Avenir, a virtual institute for alpha particle research and innovation. Avenir will facilitate worldwide research and collaboration, and expand scientific understanding of alpha emitting isotopes and alpha particles. Importantly, it will also serve as an incubator for the development of commercial products and services, including the continued advancement of targeted alpha therapies, a promising new cancer treatment.

• Work in CNL’s shielded facilities led to the development of a new technique for hydriding (a form of accelerated ageing) of pressure tubes at low pressure to improve burst testing. This is an industry first and enables future work in support of reactor life extension. Past accomplishments is this area have been foundational to the life extension of Ontario’s nuclear power plants saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and avoiding countless tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

• The Chalk River site’s carbon footprint has been reduced by 27 per cent through the conversion to natural gas of several buildings, including the Powerhouse. This conversion has also led to a savings of more than $2 million dollars on fuel expenses over the fiscal year.

• Construction of the Tritium Facility was completed, including the inactive commissioning of its specialty equipment. The capabilities gained from this facility will enable ongoing commercial projects and research into tritium batteries and tritium removal.

• Progress continues in the Port Hope Area Initiative, which is delivering the cleanup and local, long-term, safe management of historic low-level radioactive waste in the Ontario municipalities of Port Hope and Clarington. This year approximately half of the historic low-level waste located at a legacy site in Port Granby has been excavated and moved into an engineered facility for long-term safe storage. Another facility, the Port Hope Long-Term Waste Management Facility, also started receiving low-level waste.

• In preparation for future decommissioning, asbestos abatement of the vast boiler room in the NPD reactor has been completed. This work isolates and removes asbestos and reduces the risk to our workforce as they continue to work in the shutdown power reactor.

• Our team at the Whiteshell Laboratories in Manitoba completed the demolition of six non-nuclear facilities totalling 4,369 square meters of floor space. This enabled the teams to continue to build experience in demolition as they work towards the eventual closure of the site.

CNL has a multi-faceted mission to restore and protect Canada’s environment by reducing and effectively managing radioactive waste, contaminated buildings and lands; to leverage CNL’s capabilities for commercial success in Canadian and international markets while supporting the science and technology needs of the Government of Canada; and, to revitalize and transform the Chalk River Laboratories campus.

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

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