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IAEA Designates Collaborating Centre in Canada to Assist on Advanced Nuclear Power Technology


Ontario Tech University will support IAEA activities on advanced nuclear power technology including small modular reactors (SMRs) as well as the non electric applications of nuclear energy. (Photo: IAEA)

The IAEA has designated Ontario Tech University as a Collaborating Centre to support IAEA activities on advanced nuclear power technology including small modular reactors (SMRs) as well as the non‑electric applications of nuclear energy. The institution is the first in Canada to receive such a designation.

“These topics are very timely as we face the great challenge of producing enough energy to power global development, while ensuring we do no harm to our planet,” said Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy. “Nuclear power, as a clean, reliable and sustainable source of energy can help us meet that challenge. And innovation, of course, is key to that success.”

The focus of the agreement will be to support R&D on integrated, sustainable energy system designs and modelling focused on SMRs and microreactors as well as renewable energy technologies for multipurpose applications. This includes hydrogen production, desalination and district heating as part of the overall contribution to the climate change mitigation. There are currently over 70 SMR designs and more than a dozen microreactors at various stages of development worldwide.

Ontario Tech University holds prominent role on energy issues among Canadian universities, according to its President, Steven Murphy. “We are leaders in several fields, from hydrogen to nuclear energy and nuclear science, small modular reactors, advanced data analytics and software development,” Murphy said. “This designation helps to validate that expertise and we hope to be a very strong partner as Collaborating Centre.”

In Vienna, the agreement was signed by Chudakov on 22 April in the presence of Heidi Hulan, Ambassador of Canada to Austria and its Permanent Representative to the United Nations organizations located in Vienna. She is currently also serving as the Chair of the IAEA Board of Governors.

“This agreement embodies the spirit of innovation and collaboration that we are going to need in the years ahead to build back better,” Hulan said. “The work on advanced nuclear power reactors is extremely relevant, also to Canada, in light of its Roadmap for Small Modular Reactors. We believe that SMRs have the potential to help respond to climate change, produce reliable, carbon free electricity, create jobs, and help reach net zero emissions by 2050.”

The agreement includes the development of training and education resources and publications for effective capacity building on topics related to SMRs, nuclear-renewable integrated energy systems, and nuclear cogeneration. “The greatest technologies are only as good as the people who run them,” added Chudakov. “We need new generations of engineers and researchers to continue working in the nuclear field, taking it to the next level.”

Ontario Tech plans to support IAEA activities to attract more women to nuclear science and engineering, including by selecting an outstanding graduate student to apply for the IAEA Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship Programme.

IAEA Collaborating Centres

To promote the practical use of nuclear technologies, the IAEA collaborates with designated institutions around the world. Through the Collaborating Centres network, these organizations in Member States can assist the IAEA by undertaking original research and development and training relating to nuclear science, technologies and their safe and secure applications. With the newly designated Ontario Tech University, there are now 49 active Collaborating Centres worldwide.

Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy presents the IAEA Collaborating Centre plaque to HE Heidi Hulan, Ambassador of Canada to Austria. (Photo: H. Subki/IAEA)

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