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January 11, 2022

NAYGN’s Chalk River Chapter wins first North America Innovation for nuclear contest

Local chapter of North American Young Generation in Nuclear wins international competition designed to encourage sustainable, nuclear solutions 

Chalk River, ON – January 11, 2021 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce that a team from the Chalk River chapter of the North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NAYGN) was selected as the winner of the first North America Innovation for Nuclear (I4N) contest. The winning submission, ‘Small Modular Reactors and Proof of Work Digital Asset Mining in Bitcoin,’ now qualifies the team for the International I4N finale at the International Youth Nuclear Congress (IYNC) 2022 conference in Sochi, Russia in May 2022.

Launched this year, the contest is being organized by the NAYGN in collaboration with the International Youth Nuclear Congress and the Atomic Allies as a way to encourage innovative ideas focused on nuclear technologies which could contribute to the United Nations sustainable development goals. For their submission, the Chalk River team proposed the integration of Proof-of-Work blockchain technology with small modular reactors (SMR) as a monetization opportunity for surplus energy generation.

“CNL is home to some of the most innovative and creative nuclear scientists, researchers and engineers in the world, and that includes many of our younger employees,” commented Joe McBrearty, CNL’s President and CEO. “NAYGN has served as an incredible forum for these employees to direct their passion and enthusiasm for nuclear science and technology, with a key focus on public engagement and education.”

“It comes as no surprise that members of our team are once again being recognized for their efforts, and I want to congratulate them on their creativity, and wish them all the best in Sochi,” adds Jeff Griffin, Vice-President, Science and Technology at CNL.

“On behalf of the Chalk River team, I want to thank the I4N Organizing Committee for holding this contest, which really tapped into the creativity of our membership, and led to a number of compelling, innovative ideas,” commented Denys Elliot, NAYGN Chalk River Chapter Lead and competition team member. “We believe that our idea addresses a key economic risk in remote nuclear energy generation, and could serve as a useful medium to encourage community involvement in clean energy. We’ll do our very best to tell that story in Sochi.”

Included in the list of seventeen United Nations sustainable development goals are problems such as poverty, access to clean water and sanitation, and development of sustainable cities and communities. The Chalk River team recognizes the role that the provision of clean, abundant and affordable electricity through SMRs can play to address these issues, and sees an opportunity of combining Proof of Work (POW) Bitcoin Digital Asset Mining to bolster the economic bottom line of reactors. This monetization model would allow generating stations to regulate energy demands in response to community needs, offering increased operational and financial flexibility.

The award adds to what has been a very successful year for NAYGN’s Chalk River chapter. In addition to a series of public webinars, presentations to public schools and students in local communities, the chapter has held ongoing engagements with Canadian colleges and Universities. The chapter also served on the organizing committee for the NAYGN regional conference, and participated in the Government of Canada’s roundtable for the development of nuclear waste policy. The chapter was recently recognized for these efforts by being selected as ‘Best Chapter in Public Information’ in North America.

With chapters spread out across North America, NAYGN was established to provide opportunities for a young generation of nuclear enthusiasts to develop strong leadership and professional skills, create lifelong connections, engage and inform the public, and inspire today’s nuclear technology professionals to meet the challenges of the 21st century. For more information on NAYGN’s Chalk River chapter, please visit

The NAYGN Chalk River Chapter Winning Team:

Heidi Macleod – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Ryan Macleod – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Zac Woods – Western University
Denys Elliot – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

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 [email protected].


CNL Contact:

Patrick Quinn
Director, Corporate Communications
Phone: 1-866-886-2325
Email: [email protected]

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