Chalk River Laboratories breaks ground on Science Collaboration Centre

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Ottawa Construction News staff writer

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) have celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Science Collaboration Centre at Chalk River.

At the event in late July, CNL President and CEO Joe McBrearty was joined by Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources, Marc Serré, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) President and CEO Fred Dermarkar, and other local elected officials

Scheduled for completion in the spring of 2023, the new Science Collaboration Centre will serve as the central planning and collaboration space for CNL’s science and technology programs. The new facility will also feature modern office space and meeting rooms for approximately 450 employees, and serve as a new home for CNL’s data centre.

“On behalf of CNL, I want to thank Mr. Serré and Mr. Dermarkar for taking time out of their busy schedules to help us celebrate the construction of this exciting new building,”  McBrearty said in a statement. “Once complete, the Science Collaboration Centre will change the way we conduct work at CNL, providing us with a modern, flexible and sustainable collaboration centre to plan and pursue our research. It is also one of a handful of new buildings that will help transform the site into a ‘smart campus,’ which is at the center of our vision for the future of the Chalk River Laboratories.”

“The Science Collaboration Centre is one of three buildings rising up at Chalk River that showcase the benefits of using wood to combat a changing climate while supporting the ambitious revitalization, and work, of Canada’s premier nuclear research facility,” said Parliamentary Secretary Serré. “The Government of Canada is proud to have supported their construction through a $4 million contribution as we remain committed to creating a cleaner, more sustainable and inclusive future.”

The project is one of a series of new ‘enabling’ buildings being builtat the Chalk River Laboratories site to revitalize the campus, thanks to a $1.2 billion investment over 10 years from AECL and the Government of Canada.

The structure uses a new generation of mass timber products sourced from within Canada as the main structural construction material, a renewable resource that reduces the site’s carbon footprint. It was also constructed using strategies that include sustainable site development, water and energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality, CNL says in the statement.

This and other new buildings at the Chalk River Laboratories are part of a 10-year capital program, started in 2016, that is designed to transform the Chalk River Laboratories through the revitalization of essential site infrastructure and a significant investment in new, world-class science facilities.

In addition to the Science Collaboration Centre, a new two-storey industrial-use support facility was recently inaugurated, a new site entrance building is nearing completion, and several science facilities have been opened in the last few years, including a brand new hydrogen laboratory complex, a new materials research laboratory, and a new tritium laboratory.

Major investments have also been made into infrastructure improvements for the campus, including new domestic water and natural gas service, a modern sanitary sewage treatment facility, and a system to more effectively manage storm water.

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