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December 18, 2020

CNL welcomes release of Small Modular Reactor Action Plan

Nuclear technology is a valuable clean energy option in effort to meet zero emissions targets 

Chalk River, ON – December 18, 2020 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, welcome today’s release of Canada’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Action Plan, by the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources.  This important document outlines a compelling case for new nuclear technology, and the necessary actions to bring this clean energy option forward to deployment.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge facing our world. This action plan makes clear that the path to a zero-emissions future in Canada will include new nuclear technology,” explains Joe McBrearty, President and CEO of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. “As Canada’s national nuclear laboratory we have been working closely with government and with the private sector to enable small modular reactor deployment by providing the scientific expertise necessary in these important endeavours.  We welcome this Action Plan and are proud to play our part in achieving the vision it sets out.”

CNL is working to demonstrate the commercial viability of SMRs and advanced reactors and to position itself as a global leader in prototype testing and technology development support, with the goal of siting an SMR before 2030. As part of the program, CNL issued an invitation in 2018 to SMR developers for the construction and operation of an SMR demonstration reactor at a CNL-managed site. At present, there are four proponents engaged in various stages of the process one of which, Global First Power, has already started the licensing and environmental assessment processes to site an operating reactor at the Chalk River Laboratories, a first for Canada.

“A demonstration reactor is a crucial first step,” adds Jeff Griffin, Vice-President of Science and Technology at CNL. “The economic and job creation opportunities that SMRs can bring will only be fully realized if Canada is first to demonstration.  By leveraging our world class scientific expertise and supply chain, Canada has the opportunity to develop valuable intellectual property, and first of a kind experience in new SMR design, construction and operation, know how that Canada could export.  This clean energy technology, used around the world, will meet rising energy demands while helping drive down carbon emissions.”

CNL’s SMR research program covers a wide breadth of technologies and disciplines including advanced fuels, reactor safety, materials science, cyber security and control, as well as environmental and waste management for the full reactor life cycle. This work is helping build the body of knowledge needed by the regulator and policy makers to enable science-based decision making.  As Canada’s national nuclear laboratory, CNL’s capabilities and expertise, are supporting SMR developers across the country, through research and development initiatives to ensure Canada maintains a lead in the development of these important technologies.

Much more than simply electricity generation, SMRs can be part of an overall energy scheme that includes hydrogen production and industrial applications. CNL is also advancing the establishment of a Clean Energy Demonstration Innovation Research Park, which will provide opportunities for SMR and advanced reactor developers to demonstrate applications and integration with other clean energy sources, including renewables.

For more information on Canada’s Small Modular Reactor Action plan visit

For more information on Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and its small modular reactor program, please visit

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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


CNL Contact:

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

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