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April 20, 2018

CNL’s reactor school helps to prepare the next generation of leaders in nuclear engineering and sciences

Unique curriculum offers unparalleled opportunity for young students or professionals in reactor physics, instrumentation and safety

Chalk River, ON, April 20, 2018 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce that it will host the ninth ZED-2 Reactor Safety & Instrumentation School at the Chalk River Laboratories from May 14-18, 2018. This week-long program provides students and young professionals in reactor physics, nuclear engineering, nuclear instrumentation, and related disciplines with the opportunity to learn first-hand from experienced nuclear practitioners, including scientists and operators.

The ZED-2 Reactor Safety & Instrumentation School will introduce Canada’s next-generation of nuclear engineers and scientists to the facilities, techniques, and current areas of research in experimental reactor physics, reactor safety, and nuclear instrumentation. While the content is targeted towards graduate students in nuclear-related disciplines, students and practitioners with any amount of experience are welcome. The school will be structured around lectures delivered by members of CNL’s research team and external experts in the mornings, followed by demonstrations and practical sessions in the afternoons during which students will spend time at the Zero Energy Deuterium (ZED-2) reactor, as well as several other nuclear facilities located on the campus.

“Canadian Nuclear Laboratories has a long history in supporting science education,” explains Esther Zdolec, Vice-President of Human Resources. “Through the enrichment of the curriculum of schools, the employment of students through co-op programs and summer jobs, by enabling post-doctoral research, or by providing access to our unique facilities and expertise in events such as the ‘ZED-2 School,’ CNL is helping to inspire young researchers and develop young professionals interested in a career in nuclear technology.”

As Canada’s largest and most accomplished nuclear campus, the Chalk River Laboratories is uniquely equipped to provide this enriching program. The sessions will include observation of ZED-2 operations and experiments, and the use of reactor simulation techniques, muon tomography, and radiation detection. The school also includes a tour of several related Chalk River facilities, a dinner featuring a guest speaker, and an evening public lecture on a topic of general interest.

In 2017, CNL released its Long-Term Strategy, an ambitious 10-year plan that will position the organization as a global leader in nuclear science and technology. During this period, CNL’s research staff is projected to grow by more than 20 per cent. The organization is actively working to attract and develop the highly-qualified team needed to deliver on its vision for the organization, and for the nuclear sector in Canada. The school provides a chance to see what a future career in nuclear science could look like, and several ZED-2 school alumni have since become employed at CNL.

“In previous years, we have had students and young professionals from across Canada and the United States attend the school,” explained Luke Yaraskavitch, physicist and member of the organizing committee. “There really is no other place in Canada for students to walk on top of a nuclear reactor, or experience first-hand the ”approach to critical” as a reactor starts operation, or to interact with such a range of researchers and practitioners in the field of nuclear science and technology.  For young professionals interested in reactor operations, it’s an opportunity to learn more about the research that underpins nuclear generating stations, while for young scientists, it’s an opportunity to broaden their experience to other technologies and capabilities.”

CNL’s ZED-2 reactor is a versatile tank type, heavy water moderated low power research reactor that achieved first criticality in 1960. The variable pitch of the reactor and ease of access to the core, along with the reactor’s associated counting facilities, make ZED-2 an ideal tool for performing reactor physics measurements and fuel studies. The clean, extremely low activity, moderator provides the students with nearly unprecedented access to the reactor.

ZED-2 has been used to confirm the reactor physics design of all Canada’s power reactors. Today, ZED-2 supports the development of reactors and advanced fuel cycles. ZED-2 is also used for the development, characterization, and calibration of in-core and ex-core flux detectors for use in power reactors.

For more information on CNL or the ZED-2 Reactor Safety & Instrumentation School 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, defence, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally.

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