CNL welcomes public into its laboratories
(from left) Good friends Joanne Bigham and Audrey Santon share a piece of celebratory cake at CNL's public open house on August 12. From 1954 to 1979, Santon worked as a secretary for CNL's reactor research and development sector.
CHALK RIVER – Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) opened its doors to the public for the first time in five years.
Located in Chalk River, CNL is a world leader in nuclear science and technology offering unique capabilities and solutions across a wide range of industries.
In celebration of the ongoing site revitalization, Canada’s 150th anniversary, the National Research Universal’s (NRU) 60th anniversary, and in recognition of all the great accomplishments made by CNL employees over the years, AECL and CNL held a public open house on August 12.
“Given it's Canada's 150th, we saw this as an opportunity to do a public open house again and also to share with the public the big changes that CNL has undergone over the 18 months or so,” said CNL director of corporate communications Pat Quinn. “This is an opportunity to help the community understand the important work that science and technology continue to do here at the Chalk River labs.”
The celebratory event saw over 2,000 people of all ages walk through the gates of the Chalk River Laboratories to learn about the site’s history, take a tour of facility and hear about CNL and AECL’s exciting plans for growth in the future.
According to AECL president and chief executive officer Richard Sexton, the Chalk River site is currently undergoing an exciting period of revitalization that is being made possible through a $1.2-billion investment in new facilities and infrastructure.
“This is going to be a world-class scientific facility with new facilities and a new mission – that’s the exciting news right now,” said Sexton. “Probably next year you'll see a groundbreaking on the new business hub and an advanced fuel research facility is also coming forward. There’s much more that will be developed but it takes awhile to design these things and figure out exactly what we need.”
Sexton added that CNL has also begun exploring a new direction for the organization's science and technology program with a focus on seven strategic initiatives including the siting of a small modular reactor, and a breakthrough technology in the health care sector.
Along with offering public tours of laboratories and the Nuclear Power Demonstration (NPD) reactor, the open house featured scientific demonstrations, displays on current CNL studies and projects, presentations about the future developments and a kids’ entertainment area with inflatable games provided by Ry-J’s.
Sexton expressed that the open house was another success, particularly as many families brought along their children to introduce them to nuclear science and technology and help to build their interest in the subject – as they could become Canada’s future generation of scientists and the future faces of CNL.
“We’re putting about $1.2-billion into these facilities and these facilities will not be worth much unless we have those young minds really delivering the next generation of science,” said Sexton. “This is the largest science research facility in Canada and many people come here as interns or as students and then they become the scientists. It's a birthplace for lots of good science across all of Canada.”