News Release

CNL receives strong response to small modular reactor RFEOI

Over 70 organizations participate in Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI), demonstrating global interest in advancing SMR technology at Canada’s national nuclear laboratory

Chalk River, August 16, 2017 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, announced today that over 70 organizations have submitted responses to its Request for Expression of Interest (RFEOI) on small modular reactors (SMRs); a strong gesture of support from a broad range of stakeholders representing key areas of a potential SMR industry. CNL launched the RFEOI this summer to gather feedback and initiate a conversation on the potential for an SMR industry in Canada, and the role CNL can play in bringing SMR technology to market.

The RFEOI prompted input from SMR technology developers, potential end users, and other interested parties and stakeholders, including host communities, the nuclear supply chain and research and academic institutions. CNL has voiced a strong interest in working as a key partner on the development and deployment of SMRs, and this initiative allows the company to build a better understanding of its existing capabilities, technology gaps, needs and requirements, and overall market interest.

“CNL is uniquely positioned to help develop this promising technology and bring it to market. It is our vision that CNL will serve as a global hub for the SMR development community,” explained Mark Lesinski, President and CEO of CNL. “The RFEOI was issued to give us a better understanding of the industry’s interest in pursuing SMR technology, and the part that CNL could play in that process. I’m happy to say that the response has been beyond our expectations.”

Over the past decade, SMRs have increasingly been recognized as a potential alternative to large-scale nuclear reactors. This clean energy technology holds opportunities for Canada, particularly for remote communities and industrial sites. SMRs may offer several advantages over traditional technologies, including the ability to purchase and construct in a modular way, decreased up-front capital costs through simpler, less complex plants, and a reduced staff complement. Designs can also bring greater efficiency and systems which are inherently safe. In addition to electricity generation, SMRs could be integrated in overall energy plans with applications as varied as district heating, co-generation, energy storage, desalination, or hydrogen production.

Notable in the submissions CNL received was more than 15 expressions of interest to build a prototype or demonstration reactor at a CNL site. This response aligns with the company’s Long-Term Strategy, announced earlier this year, which established the ambitious goal of siting a new SMR on CNL’s Chalk River site by 2026.

“We’re facing a very long journey before the construction of a prototype SMR reactor at our Chalk River site, but the RFEOI represents a very strong start to this process, and ensures that we move forward in unison with the broader SMR development community,” commented Kathryn McCarthy, CNL’s Vice-President of Research & Development. “The feedback we received from these stakeholders allows us to better shape our program, ensuring we have the right capabilities and expertise to meet the needs of industry every step of the way.”

In the coming months, CNL will review and analyze RFEOI submissions. A report summarizing the findings will be made available to the public through CNL’s website. For anyone who would like to receive updates on the company’s SMR program, you can sign up for CNL’s SMR mailing list at

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