For many decades, the Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) have served proudly as Canada’s national nuclear laboratory, enabling breakthroughs in nuclear medicine, supporting the development and deployment of clean nuclear power generation, and developing the next generations of scientists, engineers, and technologists across a range of disciplines. Enabled by a $1.2 billion investment from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the Chalk River Laboratories are undergoing a significant revitalization, bringing new cutting-edge scientific infrastructure and an ambitious new vision that seeks to increase research collaboration with Canadian universities.
The University of Ottawa has a well-established history of collaborative research with AECL, a federal Crown corporation whose mandate is to drive nuclear innovation for Canada. AECL provides oversight and direction to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, a private-sector organization which manages and operates the Chalk River laboratories.
Consequently, the University of Ottawa, AECL, and CNL now wish to join together to broaden their research collaborations based on strategically aligned goals and objectives, notably in the fields of health, safety, energy, and the environment. This very first memorandum of understanding, signed on November 23, 2022, aims to facilitate the mobility and professional development of highly qualified personnel and to give them access to specialized facilities. This agreement is the product of over a decade of collaboration between the three partners and will assist in training the next generation of nuclear scientists.
“The University of Ottawa is a key partner in supporting CNL and AECL as they apply their strengths in nuclear science and technology to tackle some of the greatest challenges our world is facing,” said uOttawa Vice-President, Research and Innovation Sylvain Charbonneau. “We share their determination to be agile and to seize every opportunity to continually push back the frontiers of research and development.”
The three parties will collaborate to encourage interactions between their respective researchers, especially in terms of student internships and training, research and development activities, and knowledge mobilization.
“We are pleased to sign this partnership with the University of Ottawa in order to take a coordinated approach to advancing nuclear science and technology in Canada,” said AECL Vice-President, Science, Technology and Commercial Oversight, Amy Gottschling. “This will also allow our respective organizations to benefit from the development of highly qualified personnel and from increased access to our world-class nuclear science capabilities and research team.”
Arrangements will be made to facilitate personnel exchanges between the two research facilities, thereby leveraging the impact of the work conducted there. Moreover, housing options will be offered to University of Ottawa researchers who intend to work at the Chalk River facilities.
“Today, the accelerating pace of science and technology requires us to build solid relationships that allow us to take the lead in finding solutions to major problems,” said CNL Vice-President of Science and Technology Dr. Jeff Griffin. “This first memorandum of understanding with the University of Ottawa will serve as a model for future agreements of this kind with other key partners.”