CNL Awarded Contract To Refuel SLOWPOKE-2 Reactor

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, announce that it has been awarded an $8.5 million contract by the Government of Canada to refuel the Royal Military College of Canada’s (RMC) SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear reactor. The SLOWPOKE-2 is a low-power, self-regulating reactor that produces neutrons for scientific research. It is used solely for professional development and academic research, including nuclear and radiological forensic expertise, and rapid response capabilities for environmental and nuclear emergencies, primarily by the Department of National Defense and Canadian Armed Forces.

Slowpoke -- 2 ReactorUnder terms of the contract, CNL will remove the old reactor core from the federally-owned nuclear reactor, commission the reactor with a newly fabricated core that is being manufactured at CNL’s Chalk River Laboratories campus, and transfer of the spent core to a licensed nuclear waste management facility. The project will take nearly three years to complete and will extend the life of the 34 year old reactor by another 30 years.

“As the original inventors of the SLOWPOKE reactor design and the only organization licensed to maintain the facility here in Canada, CNL is well-positioned to lead this complex refuelling project,” commented Mark Lesinski, CNL President and CEO. 

SLOWPOKE-2 reactor came online in 1985. It has served as an educational tool for RMC students, military officers, faculty, and scholars from across the country, performing neutron radiography and activation analysis. Today, students and researchers make use of the reactor every year, for education and research that further supports the activities and operations of the Canadian Armed Forces, Department of National Defense, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Royal Canadian Air Force, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command and the Navy’s Directorate of Nuclear Safety.

Developed by CNL in the late 1960s, the Safe Low-Power Kritical Experiment (SLOWPOKE) reactor is a low-power, compact core reactor technology that was designed for neutron activation analysis, trace radioisotope production and as a tool for teaching nuclear science and engineering. It is the only reactor in the world considered safe enough to be licensed for unattended operation. Eight SLOWPOKE reactors have been supplied by CNL to universities and research centres across Canada and in Jamaica, three of which are still in operation today.

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