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November 15, 2019

CNL to fund collaborations with SMR vendors to accelerate clean energy deployment

Negotiations underway with Terrestrial, USNC, Kairos and Moltex

CHALK RIVER, ON, CANADA – November 15, 2019– Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization has announced that it has selected the first recipients of the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI). This initiative seeks to accelerate the deployment of small modular reactors (SMR) in Canada by enabling research and development and connecting global vendors of SMR technology with the facilities and expertise within Canada’s national nuclear laboratories.  CNRI recipients will be able to optimize resources and share technical expertise to advance the commercialization and deployment of SMR technologies.

“Both our own market research and the findings of the Canadian SMR Roadmap made it clear that there is a desire within the nuclear industry for increased access to CNL’s expertise and facilities,” explained Mark Lesinski, President and CEO. “The CNRI program was launched as a way to enable that access.”

“CNL has made significant progress over the past three years to position Canada as the hub for small modular reactor research, we have built up considerable expertise and knowledge in key technical areas that are common across SMR technologies,” commented Dr. Kathryn McCarthy, Vice-President of Science and Technology at CNL.

“CNRI allows CNL to respond directly and efficiently to the needs of industry by co-funding important R&D that accelerates deployment in an increasingly competitive commercial marketplace,” added Dr. Corey McDaniel, Chief Commercial Officer.

CNL received a strong response to the announcement of the initial intake, receiving applications from key players in the SMR industry in Canada and abroad. Submissions were accepted based on a list of designated focus areas, including market analysis, fuel development, reactor physics modelling, transportation, and others.  Applicants are required to match funds and in-kind contributions that will be made by CNL.  The following projects have been selected for negotiations on the terms of cost sharing arrangements:


Reactor developer Moltex Canada, along with the University of New Brunswick, seek to build and optimize a test apparatus to explore the potential of converting used CANDU power reactor fuel into a fuel form capable of powering their Stable Salt Reactor design.


Kairos Power is proposing the development of a Tritium Management Strategy for its high-temperature fluoride salt-cooled reactor (KP-FHR) design. This CNRI project also includes early work to identify technologies to implement this strategy.


Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation is proposing work that seeks to resolve a broad array of technical questions in support of its Micro Modular Reactor (MMR). These include fuel processing, reactor safety, and fuel and graphite irradiation, among others.


Terrestrial Energy Inc. will be evaluating the applicability of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation technologies to the IMSR400 reactor and other SMR designs.  This work will look at opportunities to utilize CNL’s existing facilities, most notably the ZED-2 reactor, as well as develop new experimental capabilities related to molten salt reactors.

These CNRI projects will be highlighted by Dr. McCarthy during CNL’s 7th SMR Vendor Roundtable on November 19, 2019 in Washington, D.C. CNL’s past roundtables have featured interactions between more than 30 SMR vendors and policy makers, regulators, national laboratories, customers and communities from around the world.

The next call for CNRI proposals is expected in early 2020.  For submission details, or to learn more about CNRI, please visit For more information on CNL’s small modular reactor program, please 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, defense, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally. With ongoing investments in new facilities and a focused mandate, CNL is well positioned for the future. A new performance standard reinforced with a strong safety culture underscores every activity.

To learn more visit


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

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