Canadian Nuclear Laboratories


Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) is Canada's premier nuclear science and technology organization. CNL is a world leader in developing peaceful and innovative applications from nuclear technology through its expertise in physics, metallurgy, chemistry, biology and engineering.

Work delivered at the Chalk River campus of CNL employs 2,800 people of whom some 600-700 help to deliver our science & technology (S&T) program. CNL’s key objectives are to develop research and knowledge-based data, to serve the operating nuclear fleet and other Canadian nuclear initiatives and to use the latent skills at CNL to grow the capability and customer base beyond Canada and the nuclear power industry.

Typically CNL has supported the CANDU fleet with materials and fuel skills as well as safety and security issues, ranging from cybersecurity to beyond design base accidents. We are leveraging the tritium and hydrogen management from the CANDU work into the hydrogen economy, particularly transport and tritium management. Globally recognized a leader in the development and production of medical radioisotopes, CNL is leveraging its radiopharmaceutical expertise into new and exciting areas of diagnostics and therapy.

The largest part of our work is related to nuclear power and our differentiating skill is in the behavior of irradiated material, both reactor materials and fuel cladding and fuel meat. We also have a fuel fabrication facility that can handle a broad range of fissile material, indeed any fissile material. Through an investment of $1.2 billion by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the Chalk River campus is being transformed through the revitalization of existing laboratories, the construction and commissioning of new buildings and research facilities, and the renewal of our supporting infrastructure.

CNL delivers a range of nuclear services – ranging from research and development, design and engineering to specialized technology, waste management and decommissioning. CNL’s five key areas of knowledge and expertise include:

 Advanced Nuclear Fuels & Materials Research

  • Radiobiology, Radioecology a& Dosimetry

  • Nuclear Safety, Security & Risk Management

  • Nuclear Systems Engineering

  • Nuclear Chemistry Applications

In 2016, CNL is announced its strategy for the future of Canada’s premier nuclear laboratory. This a vision for CNL over the next ten years, which will aim to position the organization as a global leader in nuclear science and technology. CNL’s long term strategy identifies areas where CNL is uniquely equipped, and applies these strengths against what the world needs in nuclear, building on our legacy as a global leader in nuclear science. 

Highlights of CNL’s ten year strategy include will an exciting program in science and technology which includes ambitious goals such as:

The deployment of a small modular reactor demonstration unit on a CNL site by 2026.

  • The development and demonstration of a suite of targeted alpha therapy compounds (an emerging medical isotope technology) by 2022.

  • Continued expansion of CNL’s program in hydrogen, with a goal to play a leading role in the demonstration of hydrogen-based bulk transport by 2020.

  • Demonstration of a new advanced fuel fabrication concept by 2020.

  • The development, commercialization and deployment of a nuclear industrial control cyber intrusion detection and mitigation system by 2022.

  • The establishment of Avenir: the Institute for Alpha Particle Research and Innovation, built upon the many unique capabilities and decades experience of CNL and AECL.