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March 12, 2018

Legacy of NRU Reactor to be explored in new documentary film

Award-winning production company to profile one of Canada’s most important science facilities, the National Research Universal reactor, in new documentary

Chalk River, ON, March 12, 2018 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, announced today that SandBay Entertainment, an award-winning Canadian entertainment and production company, will develop a new documentary film on the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor and its historical role as one of Canada’s most important scientific and research facilities. Production of the documentary has commenced at CNL’s Chalk River Laboratories complex, with completion and distribution of the film anticipated later this year.

“NRU has served as a cornerstone of the Canadian nuclear industry for over 60 years, improving the quality of life of Canadians and people around the globe,” commented Mark Lesinski, President and CEO of CNL. “The work enabled by NRU, by the operations team, the engineers, the researchers, has touched virtually every major industry.  This facility and the people within it have made the world a better place; this documentary will tell that story.”

One of the largest research reactors in the world, NRU was a landmark achievement in Canadian nuclear science and technology went it went into service on November 3, 1957 on the banks of the Ottawa River in Deep River, Ontario. For over 60 years, the reactor served Canadians as a supplier of industrial and medical radioisotopes used for the diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening diseases, as a major Canadian facility for neutron physics research, and to provide engineering research and development support for Canada’s fleet of nuclear power reactors.

NRU was the workplace of Canadian physicist Dr. Bertram Brockhouse, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1994. Using a technique known as ‘neutron scattering’ to explore materials, Dr. Brockhouse invented a new, highly sophisticated neutron instrument known as a triple axis spectrometer, which is now standard equipment at every neutron laboratory throughout the world. Experiments at CNL also confirmed one of the theoretical predictions for the 2016 Nobel Prize award in physics, which was given to David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane, and J. Michael Kosterlitz for theoretical discoveries in quantum materials. For these and other achievements, NRU was recognized as a nuclear historic landmark by the American Nuclear Society in 1986.

“NRU has an incredibly rich history. It’s been used to examine components for everything from jet engines and space shuttles to submarines and trains, and led to scientific advances that have benefited people around the world, including improvements to the delivery of medication, global food security and renewable energy production,” commented Dave Cox, CNL’s Chief Nuclear Officer and Vice-President of Operations.

“As we near the permanent closure of NRU in March 2018, CNL has developed a Long-Term Strategy that builds on NRU’s legacy, pursuing scientific innovations in clean energy, public health, nuclear security and environmental stewardship. This bright future would not have been possible without NRU and the brilliant scientists and technical experts who designed and built this marvel in engineering.”

SandBay Entertainment, producer of the film, is a creative studio dedicated to moving picture storytelling. Founded as a boutique production agency in 2004, the Canadian company has evolved into a diversified storytelling collective focussed on content creation for all screens.  SandBay produces content for film, television, and digital platforms. While release details of the film have not yet been announced, the company believes that there will be strong interest in distributing the film given the documentary’s subject matter.

“When you appreciate the history and achievements of NRU, and all the achievements that were carried out here in the Ottawa Valley by Canadian researchers and scientists over the past six decades, it’s absolutely extraordinary,” commented Han Nguyen, Producer and Director of the film with SandBay. “There is a really compelling story to tell about this reactor, and the people who have operated this facility, and we’re honoured to be able to share it with Canadians.”

To learn more about the NRU reactor, 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.

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



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

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