News Archive 2011- 2014

CNBC Activity Report for 2011, 2012, and 2013 Now Available

2014 March – The Canadian Neutron Beam Centre’s (CNBC) activity report to CINS for 2011, 2012, and 2013 is now available online in both official languages.

2014 American Conference on Neutron Scattering 2014

Save the Date! June 1-5, 2014. The 2014 American Conference on Neutron Scattering is hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and will be held in Knoxville, TN, USA.

For more information, view the conference flyer or visit the offical ACNS conference website.

Reconstitution of CINS

Nov 5, 2013 – CINS is preparing to receive and administer grant money in support of research using neutron beams in Canada. To that end, CINS adopted a new corporate structure at its recent AGM. The new structure will also satisfy the new Canada Not-For-Profit Corporations Act. More information on the new structure is available on the about us page.

Transfer of the operations and governance of the CNBC to AECL

March 7, 2013 – Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) will fully fund, govern and operate the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (CNBC) for a two-year period effective April 1, 2013 according to an agreement recently signed with the National Research Council (NRC). The NRC staff of the CNBC will continue to be NRC employees while working in alignment with AECL’s direction.

There will be no immediate change in day-to-day operations of the CNBC and no impact on access to the facilities by users and clients.

CINS will work AECL with respect to establishing a sustainable future for materials research with neutron scattering in Canada. The coming two years will be an opportunity to demonstrate the value of including a domestic neutron-scattering capability in support of an industry-driven Canadian nuclear innovation agenda, a consideration in the ongoing restructuring of AECL:

“The government is still assessing the value of investing federal tax dollars in longer-term nuclear innovation. Over the coming months, the Government will work to understand the potential business case for a forward-looking, industry-driven nuclear innovation agenda.” See

As usual, applications for beam time at the CNBC are welcome at any time.

Members of the neutron scatttering community should direct questions or concerns regarding the situation to the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre.

Moratorium on NSERC MRS program

August 30, 2012 – The impacts of the moratorium on the NSERC MRS program have been assessed in a recent survey of affected facilities. For the past decade, the MRS program has been vital in supporting user access to neutron beams at the NRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre.

The survey found “it may force as many as one third of the facilities receiving MRS funding in 2011 to close, mothballing at least $80 million in unique scientific equipment. Surviving facilities will have to fire staff and reduce services, with many unable to repair or upgrade multi-million dollar equipment.” With respect to Canada’s domestic neutron source, “without MRS funding, the $30 million of installed capital in the neutron beam laboratory will be greatly underutilized.”

The full document may be downloaded here.

CINS Submits Expression of Interest in AECL

March 30, 2012 – CINS has responded to Natural Resources Canada’s consultative process on the restructuring of AECL, known as a Request for Expressions of Interest. The following is a summary of the submission. The document may be downloaded here.

CINS would seek to contribute to an oversight role so as to restore CRL to its proper position as a centre for research in Canada, and to ensure that its unique combination of capabilities is managed for the benefit of all clients, whether they be academic, government or industrial users.

Our members are active users of the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre that is based around the NRU reactor at Chalk River. Our organisation seeks to promote the use of neutron beam research techniques and our members have been involved in research at Chalk River Laboratories almost since the facility was created. We believe that neither Chalk River Laboratories in general, nor Canadian neutron beam research in particular, have a meaningful future without a powerful research reactor on the Chalk River site, and that since NRU is coming to the end of its operational life, it is essential that a new research reactor be built as a matter of great urgency so that an orderly succession can be managed. Furthermore, in order to fully realise the scientific and technical potential of Chalk River Laboratories, a major shift in culture will be needed so that research is identified as a laboratory priority, and external users from academia, government and industry are both welcomed and supported in their research.

The National Research Universal (NRU) reactor and the associated facilities at Chalk River Laboratories represent the largest national investment in research infrastructure in Canada. Despite decades of worldclass contributions to research in all aspects of nuclear science and technology, the site was allowed to decay from the mid-90s and it has become a pale shadow of its former self. With investment in a new research reactor, and active promotion of a new research-centred mission for the laboratory, a revitalised Chalk River Laboratories could regain its position as a world leader in nuclear and neutron-based science and technology and serve a broad range of academic, government and industrial users. It would advance knowledge and contribute to the training of thousands of highly qualified people, both those who work onsite, and the far larger number of people who would visit the laboratories to use the facilities and interact with the teams of local specialists. By re-defining the site’s mandate as “research”, Chalk River Laboratories would be in a position to contribute to fields far from nuclear engineering and would support research in energy, environment, health, communications, materials science, fundamental physics and chemistry and manufacturing and process development for the automotive, aerospace and mineral processing sectors. The knowledge gained would both expand Canada’s technological base, and also inform government as it seeks to develop science-based policies that support a technology-driven economy, and that both foster and regulate industry in Canada.

CNBC Activity Report for 2009 and 2010 Now Available

2012 January – The Canadian Neutron Beam Centre’s (CNBC) activity report to CINS for 2009 and 2010 is now available online in both official languages.

NRU Reactor Shutdown Complete: Beamlines are Operational

June 17, 2011 – Neutrons are once again beaming through the neutron beamlines at the NRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (CNBC). The NRU reactor, which is the source of the neutrons, is operating again after the first annual planned one month shutdown of the reactor was successfully completed early on June 16 – a day earlier than planned. The reactor was restarted at 9:00PM on June 15, and it reached high power operations shortly after midnight, marking the completion of the outage.

The purpose of the outage was to perform maintenance and inspection work designed to enhance the reliability of NRU and to fulfill AECL’s commitment to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). This break in operations allowed AECL to execute activities that could not otherwise be performed during the window provided in its regular five-day shutdowns.

AECL reports, “Vessel inspection results to date confirm that there are no detectable changes to the vessel wall, no detectable corrosion, and that the inspected welds, applied during the 2010 repairs continue to be sound.”

More information on the outages of the NRU reactor is available at

Planned One-Month Shutdown of the NRU Reactor

April 12, 2011 – Shortly after the CINS neutron summer school at Chalk River, there will be an extended shutdown of the NRU reactor for inspection and maintenance, which AECL expects to become an annual event. This break in operations will last approximately one month and will allow AECL to execute activities that cannot otherwise be performed during the window provided in its regular five-day shutdowns.

AECL plans to use this shutdown, currently scheduled for May 15 to June 17, to help ensure reliable operation of the NRU reactor and to support its application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to extend the license of the NRU reactor to 2016. Specifically, AECL will perform non-destructive evaluation (NDE) of the reactor vessel. The NDE inspections are being undertaken to assess the repaired areas and measure the effectiveness of corrosion mitigation measures that were implemented during the 15-month forced outage for the vessel leak repair (May 2009-August 2010). In addition to the NDE and inspection work, hundreds of other activities will also be performed across the NRU reactor and its supporting facilities to improve reliability and to assess the extent of condition of operating systems.

NRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (CNBC) remains in close communication with AECL concerning the reactor operating schedule, and is committed to maximize the effective access of users to neutron scattering facilities. Concerns and inquires about scheduling of neutron beam experiments should be directed to your CNBC local contact.