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New funding supports next-generation nuclear research at UNB

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Mar 24, 2023

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

Dr. Willie CookThanks to new financial support, the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) Centre for Nuclear Energy Research (CNER) will upgrade key scientific equipment, improving its research capabilities for current and next-generation nuclear power generation. The CNER will receive $1,928,005 million from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and $173,595 from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF).

“I wish to thank the minister and the Government of Canada, as well as the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, for their continued support of our institution’s innovative, indeed remarkable, researchers,” said Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle, president and vice-chancellor of UNB. “The CNER is an important part of our contribution to creating sustainable energy futures for our province, our country, and the world. This investment will enable them to expand the capability of the Centre and further strengthen their leading-edge expertise.”

This funding will support two key infrastructure projects. First, they will upgrade and augment high-temperature water test systems that simulate the coolant infrastructure used in nuclear power generation, such as existing CANDU reactors. In a laboratory environment, they are used to investigate corrosion, corrosion control practices, and other operational processes in these systems.

Second, the funding will provide for the renovations and equipment needed to establish the CNER’s Advanced Nuclear Research Laboratory (ANRL). This new facility will improve the CNER’s ability to prepare, analyze and measure molten salts and liquid metals, enhancing UNB’s ability to provide expert insight and research for emerging Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology.

“The Government of Canada is committed to investing in innovative technologies to help grow a sustainable economy that works for everyone,” said the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA. “The CNER’s new laboratory will increase UNB capacity for advanced SMR research and the development of next-generation solutions to global challenges.”

The ANRL will bring UNB and CNER to the forefront of advanced nuclear reactor research in the region, in Canada and worldwide, and will create a world-class nuclear research facility with the ability to support the current and future generations of reactors for decades to come.

“NBIF is proud to partner with ACOA and UNB to support the CNER,” said Paul Thornton, Senior Commercialization Officer at NBIF. “With funding from our suite of research programs, NBIF is helping CNER build capacity to facilitate deployment of small modular reactors in NB, and supporting the expertise needed to engage industry in collaborative nuclear energy projects. This project aligns with the province’s energy priorities and will help NB become a leader in secure reliable, low-carbon energy solutions.”

UNB’s CNER has a history of research and partnership with the nuclear power industry in Canada and abroad that spans more than 30 years. Researchers have conducted and published a significant amount of research through the centre's work. They have developed and commercialized sensors for nuclear power plant applications, improving the reliability and safety of nuclear power infrastructure.

The CNER is a key contributor to the New Brunswick Small Modular Reactor Research and Development Cluster, launched in the summer of 2018. The cluster formalized a collaborative partnership between UNB, the Province of New Brunswick, NB Power, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, and two industry partners: Moltex Energy and ARC Clean Energy.