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CNL and NB Power agree to collaborate on advancement of SMRs

March 20, 2020 | By Kavita Sabharwal-Chomiuk

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and New Brunswick Power (NB Power) have finalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing plans to pursue collaboration opportunities in nuclear research, including the development of small modular reactor (SMR) technology in the province.

“This agreement formally connects CNL with the growing research cluster of utilities, universities and academic research, and SMR vendors within New Brunswick,” said Mark Lesinski, CNL president and CEO. “Momentum behind SMR technology continues to build all across this country, and collaborative agreements such as this enable us to share knowledge, facilities and other resources as we work together to move this technology towards deployment.”

The MOU outlines a number of areas of interest with a focus on demonstrating and improving the technical performance, safety and efficiency of sodium-cooled fast reactors and molten salt reactor technologies, both of which are currently being proposed for sitting at NB Power’s Point Lepreau campus. Together, the two organizations will examine areas that are of shared interest across the SMR industry, such as reactor sitting and licensing, advanced fuel development and qualification, and materials performance and corrosion.

CNL offers unique-to-Canada options, such as a licensed nuclear campus and nuclear research facilities. This collaborative arrangement allows the possibility for researchers and engineers within the growing New Brunswick nuclear cluster to access CNL’s specialized facilities and capabilities, particularly in support of fuel irradiation and handling of active material. Meanwhile, CNL will benefit from knowledge sharing and academic programs in place within the province, as well as the multi-disciplinary work delivered at the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research at the University of New Brunswick.


The MOU also discusses plans for the exchange of scientific and technical staff, consultancy services and sharing of knowledge.

“NB Power and CNL have a long history of working together,” adds Brett Plummer, Vice-President Nuclear and Chief Nuclear Officer with NB Power. “This MOU reinforces this long-standing relationship and highlights the type of collaboration needed to bring new advanced reactor technology to the market. We are excited to have CNL as part of the New Brunswick’s SMR Research and Development cluster.”

Both CNL and NB Power are actively working towards deploying SMRs. As a low-carbon energy source, SMRs are more widely seen as an ideal technology to help cut down on the reliance on fossil fuel generation. They also provide greater efficiency and flexibility of operations enable SMRs to complement renewables on an integrated grid, or support local area heating or industrial processes.

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