McMaster, industry leaders establish undergraduate nuclear research experience program

A group of researchers and students posing for a photo in front of a banner bearing the logo of McMaster University

The program will include hands-on work and research experience at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories as well as networking and mentorship opportunities for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in nuclear research. The first cohort includes seven students from the Faculty of Science and five students from the Faculty of Engineering.

McMaster University, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) have launched a new program to enrich learning and real-world experience in nuclear research for McMaster undergraduate students.

The CNL Nuclear Undergraduate Research Experience program provides funding to allow students enrolled in Level II or above in the Faculties of Engineering and Science to develop research and technical skills in the nuclear field.

The program is part of the partnership established last year between McMaster, CNL and AECL to advance nuclear research, education and training.

With the global recognition of nuclear as a clean energy source to be implemented in the fight against climate change, the demand for an experienced and skilled workforce is expected to grow significantly. Programs to develop talent will help meet this challenge.

As part of the eight-week program, students will be paired with a CNL employee for mentorship opportunities and for guidance on their research projects.

Research projects will focus on health, safety and security, energy and the environment, including but not limited to research in small modular reactors, hydrogen, materials characterization, medical isotopes and radiochemistry.

Additionally, participants will experience two weeks of learning, including hands-on research, at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories located at the Chalk River site or at other AECL sites managed by CNL. The Chalk River Laboratories is the largest single complex among Canada’s science and technology infrastructure.

Students enrolled in the program will have access to cutting-edge technologies housed within 50+ nuclear facilities and laboratories, which use nuclear science and technologies to advance research and applications in clean energy and the environment, health sciences, safety and security.

The first cohort of the program includes seven students from the Faculty of Science and five students from the Faculty of Engineering.

Dave Tucker, McMaster’s assistant vice-president (nuclear) says this opportunity to work with such visionary partners will have a significant impact on the talent pipeline for the nuclear industry.

“CNL and AECL are world leaders in nuclear research and innovation, and this investment is a testament to their continued leadership in ensuring Canada’s nuclear sector remains competitive on a global stage,” he says.

“I salute them on their foresight and for creating pathways for our talented and passionate students — the next generation of nuclear experts — to advance discoveries in nuclear medicine, materials, safety and technology.”

“As Canada continues to invest in nuclear science and technology to support our clean energy future, the next generation is pivotal in driving everything from research and development to design and planning,” said Jeff Griffin, CNL’s vice-president of science and technology. “McMaster University students will contribute to this innovation and we are committed to helping them build their capabilities and expertise as well as support them as they determine their career paths.”

“I am most excited about the novel student experience that McMaster and CNL are creating with this program,” said Amy Gottschling, vice-president of science, technology and commercial oversight at AECL. “Our future is in the hands of young bright minds like the students at McMaster and I have no doubt they will offer insights and benefits that will help to advance research and technologies in nuclear. We welcome them to the Chalk River Laboratories and wish them a wonderful, and personally impactful experience.”

Related Stories