Success Stories

CNL projects highlighted in DRDC announcement

Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), in partnership with Public Safety Canada (PSC), has selected 26 new science and technology projects for negotiations; CNL is heavily involved in three of these projects. Project proposals have been selected following the May 2016 Call for Proposals for the Canadian Safety and Security Program (CSSP).

The CSSP is a federal program led by Defence Research and Development Canada, in partnership with Public Safety Canada. This collaborative model ensures that key organizations from government, industry, academia, and international organizations are brought together to work on the most pressing safety and security issues facing Canada.

“We are very proud to play a key role in three of the projects highlighted in this recent announcement,” explains Bhaskar Sur, Security Program Lead. “We have a great team, with a truly diverse set of capabilities that enable us to take on challenging research across a very wide spectrum of issues relevant to nuclear security. This field of research is always changing, always evolving, and today’s announcement is testament to our ability to respond to these changes.”

News Release / Backgrounder

Project Information

Application of Novel Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer for Special Nuclear Materials (SNM) Detection Ankur Chaudhuri, Bryan Van der Ende, Ghaouti Bentoumi (Project Lead)

This project will assess the feasibility of adapting recently-developed multi-reflection time-of-flight (MR-TOF) technology to develop a mobile, faster, and less expensive instrument for applications in nuclear safety and security. This novel time-of-flight mass spectrometry technology is currently used for basic research in nuclear physics, but no commercial off-the-shelf device based on this technology are available for industrial application. This project will further identify the federal stakeholders’ requirements for this mobile mass spectrometer technology from the perspective of public safety and security.

“This will provide a path-forward to exploit novel time-of-flight mass spectrometry technology to potentially support applications in emergency dosimetry, non-proliferation, nuclear counter-terrorism, and nuclear incident response,” explains Ankur Chaudhuri, Applied Physics. “This may significantly improve the analysis throughput and cost compared to the existing mass spectrometer technology used for these applications. Outcomes of this project will help future investment decisions for public safety and security S&T in Canada.”

Detecting Anomalies due to Cyber Attack on Industrial Control Systems Marienna Macdonald, Dave Trask (Project Lead)

The project will investigate methodologies and technologies for detecting anomalous behavior due to cyber security events in complex real-time systems and associated communications networks, such as those used by critical infrastructure (e.g., nuclear, oil & gas, water treatment).

In recognition that the behaviour of industrial control systems is typically well-defined and well-bounded, the technology proposed in this project is based on developing a detailed and transparent model of authorized behaviour and message transactions; detected deviations from the model are potential indication of cyber attack.

“Demand for cyber security services is growing as attackers continuously innovate,” explains Marienna Macdonald, a member of our Software Development team based out of the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, NB. “It is no longer sufficient to simply provide barriers to prevent attacks; the more prudent position is to assume an attack will occur and to ensure systems are resilient such that attacks are promptly discovered and their impacts minimized.”

While there is a large commercial industry catering to the cyber security of information technology (IT) systems, the cyber security of industrial control systems (ICS) draw far less attention. This project investigates solutions that specifically address the unique characteristics of real-time industrial systems, offers transparent operation for ease of use and maintenance and will be extensible in order to support different industrial communication protocols.

Nuclear Forensics
Ike Dimayuga (CNL Project Lead)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) will lead a project to develop Canada’s ability to establish the origin and history of nuclear materials to mitigate and prevent their use in criminal activities. Given our unique capabilities, facilities and history, CNL plays a critical role in supporting this nuclear forensics initiative.