Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) announced it has developed an Action Plan under its existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the UK National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL).

The plan is designed to foster collaboration in research areas that include clean energy, medical isotopes, waste management, and decommissioning. It was established to address shared opportunities and challenges between Canada and the UK related to climate change, public health and environment stewardship, among others.

CNL and NNL will work in partnership to explore and pursue joint research projects, information exchange workshops and other resource and knowledge-sharing opportunities. In particular, both parties have identified research related to advanced nuclear reactor fuel, targeted alpha therapy and medical isotope production, and environmental remediation practices and technologies as key areas that the laboratories intend to pursue in partnership.

“Canada and the United Kingdom have a long history of working together to tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges through nuclear science and technology,” commented CNL President and CEO Mark Lesinski. “But we still have a lot to learn from one another, and I am thrilled that this tradition of collaboration will continue through this agreement."

Lesinski noted that the plan would allow CNL and NNL to share expertise, facilities, equipment and other resources to achieve key public policy goals in Canada and the UK. These include the development of new technologies to better protect the environment, fight climate change and treat cancer.

Paul Howarth, NNL’s CEO said: “Collaborative working is an essential part of how NNL operates and succeeds. The MOU between CNL and NNL has been an excellent way of opening links between our two organisations. However, this Action Plan takes us a big step further forward and means that we will now begin to see outputs from our collaboration which will benefit both the UK and Canada.”

Activities are being carried out at CNL’s Chalk River Laboratories to demonstrate the commercial viability of small modular reactors (SMRs), with the goal of siting Canada’s first SMR by 2026.

CNL is also looking to advance the availability and scientific understanding of actinium-225, a rare medical isotope that has shown great promise as the basis for new, cutting-edge cancer therapies.

Finally, CNL is working to address the Canadian government’s nuclear legacy liabilities through the planning and execution of several major decommissioning and environmental remediation projects.

“Whether it’s the development of next-generation nuclear reactors or the production and processing of medical isotopes to fight cancer, CNL’s research activities intersect quite closely with the work being carried out by NNL,” added Lesinski. “With that in mind, it is clearly in the best interest of both organisations to carry out this research in concert with one another.”

The announcement builds on the strong record of collaboration between Canada and the UK that began in the 1940s, when both countries established a laboratory in Montreal.

CNL signed an MOU with NNL in 2016 to collaborate on a variety of projects in reactor metallurgy, fuel development, waste management and medical radioisotopes.

Most recently, CNL also signed an MOU with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) at the Canada-UK Energy Summit in 2018.

In related news, the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) and the UK's Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate in nuclear and promote clean, innovative and advanced nuclear technologies. The agreement was signed at the Department for International Trade Civil Nuclear Showcase 2020 on 3 March.