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CNL Announces New Programs to Position Canada to Seize Opportunities in Fusion Energy

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CNL ANNOUNCES NEW PROGRAMS TO POSITION CANADA TO SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES IN FUSION ENERGY

Canada’s national nuclear laboratories hosts ‘Fusion Day 2024’ to unveil its fusion roadmap, and to announce new programs to accelerate fusion deployment in Canada
Canada’s national nuclear laboratories hosts ‘Fusion Day 2024’ to unveil its fusion roadmap, and to announce new programs to accelerate fusion deployment in Canada

Canada’s national nuclear laboratories hosts ‘Fusion Day 2024’ to unveil its fusion roadmap,
and to announce new programs to accelerate fusion deployment in Canada

CHALK RIVER, Ontario, June 14, 2024 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce that it welcomed Canadian and international leaders in fusion science and technology to the nation’s capital earlier this week for Fusion Day 2024, a forum to discuss and explore the path to fusion deployment in Canada. Hosted by CNL at the Rideau Club in Ottawa, the event served as a venue for CNL to unveil and discuss its ‘Fusion Energy for Canada’ report, a new plan that outlines a collective vision and national strategy to make fusion energy a reality in Canada.

According to CNL’s report, fusion energy has the potential to provide Canada with reliable and resilient clean energy to support Net-Zero by 2050 and beyond. Fusion research is now accelerating in maturity, moving from solving engineering problems to now building demonstrations and prototypes. There are now a total of 98 operating fusion experiments and demonstration facilities globally, with 13 under construction and a further 33 planned. The market for commercial fusion has also grown rapidly, with over 43 private fusion companies operating globally, attracting more than $8.2 billion in funding. The CNL-led Fusion report, informed by leading Canadian organizations, calls on the Canadian government to promptly mobilize a fusion ecosystem through a clear policy and mandate, in order to capitalize on the economic benefits available from the domestic implementation of fusion energy and to support the international nuclear sector.

To further enable Canada to seize this opportunity, CNL announced that it would expand two of its flagship clean energy programs to encompass fusion technologies. First, with multiple suitable sites to host demonstration units at the Chalk River and Whiteshell Laboratories, which CNL operates on behalf of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), CNL announced that it will open up its small modular reactor (SMR) Invitation Process to include fusion prototype reactors and other clean energy technologies. Second, CNL announced the expansion of its popular Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI) program to include other forms of clean energy, including a larger focus on fusion-based research and development. This unique initiative enables collaborative research projects with advanced nuclear reactor vendors through a cost-shared model, facilitating access to key facilities and capability to accelerate development.

“At CNL, we recognize that fusion has tremendous potential to unlock a transformative, clean energy future domestically, in order to fight climate change and ensure our national security,” commented Dr. Stephen Bushby, CNL’s Vice-President of Science & Technology. “Given our extensive expertise and resources in nuclear, hydrogen and other forms of clean energy, Canada is well-positioned to seize a leadership role in this industry, but it means that we have to act decisively and work together. That is the driving force behind Fusion Day 2024, our fusion roadmap and the expansion of our research programs, and I want to thank the fusion community for demonstrating their interest and support to this vision by participating in this conference.”

“This announcement underscores AECL’s commitment to enabling innovation and commercialization of new nuclear energy technologies, particularly where demonstration is needed to advance its readiness level,” commented Amy Gottschling, Vice-President of Science, Technology and Commercial Oversight at AECL. “We continue to encourage clean energy technology developers to leverage our sites, assets, and capabilities at the Chalk River Laboratories (or other CNL-managed sites) to advance vital projects. Specifically with respect to fusion energy, we are very excited about the opportunity to build on Canada’s legacy as a global leader in cutting-edge nuclear science and technology to create a strong and vibrant fusion industry that not only yields economic benefit, but also furthers our nation’s climate change goals.”

As part of Fusion Day 2024, CNL welcomed attendees to the Chalk River Laboratories earlier in the week for a site visit and tour of the Chalk River campus, and to discuss the expansion of CNL’s SMR Invitation Process and CNRI programs to make them accessible to the fusion community. The Chalk River site is home to some of the world’s most advanced laboratories, facilities, and testing equipment for clean energy research, as well as expertise in the development of next-generation nuclear technologies. It is these capabilities that have drawn interest from fusion technology developers and vendors, with CNL recently announcing agreements and projects with organizations that include Kyoto Fusioneering, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, Stellarex and General Fusion.

“That is really our mission as Canada’s national nuclear laboratories – to make our capabilities, facilities and expertise more accessible, so that we can help to breathe life into new technologies, whether it is working with government organizations, industry partners or academia,” commented Dr. Ian Castillo, the Head of CNL’s Hydrogen and Tritium Technologies Directorate. “In recent years, interest and research into fusion has been growing at an extraordinary pace here in Canada and around the world, as has our own fusion program at CNL, and we want to make sure that Canada is at the forefront of this new era in clean energy technology.”

These developments also come on the heels of the formation of Fusion Fuel Cycles Inc. (FFC), a new joint venture between CNL and Kyoto Fusioneering, which aims to develop and deploy deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion fuel cycle technologies. FFC’s first project will be UNITY-2, a ground-breaking integrated and flexible fuel cycle test facility, which is slated to be commissioned by the end of 2025 at the Chalk River Laboratories, and fully operational by 2026.