CNL invites academia to join CNRI programme

05 October 2022

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has issued a call for proposals for the fourth round of its Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI), which is aimed at collaborative research initiatives on small modular reactors (SMRs) and advanced reactors. CNL has now expanded the programme to invite project applications from Canadian universities.

A lab at Chalk River Laboratories (Image CNL)

Launched in 2019, the CNRI programme was established by CNL to accelerate the deployment of SMRs in Canada by enabling research and development, and connecting the SMR industry with the facilities and expertise within Canada's national nuclear laboratories. Among the many benefits of the programme, participants optimise resources, share technical knowledge, and gain access to CNL's expertise to help advance the commercialisation of SMR technologies.

CNL said the CNRI programme continues to grow, and this year has expanded to accept applications from Canadian universities, who are invited to submit project ideas that fall within this round's designated focus areas.

"As part of its new corporate strategy, Vision 2030, CNL is working to better enable collaborations between all levels of government, the nuclear industry, the broader private sector and the academic community," it said. "CNRI will act as a key programme for CNL's efforts to serve as a nexus between these sectors, and the addition of Canadian universities is an important step towards that goal."

For the fourth intake, CNL said research proposals must align with topics that include advanced fuels, advanced materials and chemistry, reactor safety, component development and testing, and application of nuclear capabilities to emerging technologies.

"As in previous rounds, once a technical review of each proposal is completed, CNL will work with the proponent to develop a plan to establish the scope, budget, and deliverables for the project," CNL said. "CNL will complete a final evaluation of the proposed project plans before making the final selection and approval of successful applicants."

The deadline for this round of submissions is 21 December. CNL will select proposals to proceed to negotiations by 20 January 2023. A final review and signing of agreements will take place in April, with successful agreements announced and work beginning the following month.

"We must close the innovation gap here in Canada, and that means working in collaboration with like-minded organisations to discover and advance solutions that address critical national needs," said CNL President and CEO Joe McBrearty. "That is the intent of the CNRI programme, and it is at the centre of CNL's new strategic vision. And as part of that goal, this year we have expanded what has already been a very successful programme to incorporate participation from Canada's academic community. It is only by working better together that we can bring a new generation of reactors online here in Canada to combat climate change."

"Given the growing interest in CNRI, not just in Canada but around the world, it is clear that this programme fulfills an unmet need for vendors and developers working to advance next-generation clean energy technologies," added CNL's Vice-President of Science & Technology Jeff Griffin. "And now that CNRI is reaching maturity, it only makes sense to extend the programme to incorporate Canadian universities, giving them better access to all of the facilities, technologies and expertise that we maintain at Canada's national nuclear laboratories."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News