Open and close mobile menu


Insights Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) | world leader in nuclear science & technology

four men standing in front of a building

CNL is Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization. It has been in operation since the 1940s and has 10 nuclear sites across Canada. In 2012, the Canadian government decided to move CNL from a government owned and operated model, to a Government Owned, Contractor Operated (GoCo) model.

In 2015 when the contract went out to international bid, Canadian National Energy Alliance (CNEA) won it. As majority partner in CNEA, our people are playing a vital role looking after the organization's ongoing investments and facilities across Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec.

Boosting Canada’s scientific status

Currently AtkinsRéalis 's teams are playing an important role in shaping the science and technology mission at the laboratories. Our work will ensure the organization stays at the top of its field while strengthening Canada’s status in the international scientific community.

Our nuclear mandate

• Our engineers are safely and efficiently addressing Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.’s (AECL’s) capital projects, environmental, waste and decommissioning responsibilities
• We’re providing nuclear science and technology services in support of Canada’s nuclear policy priorities
• AtkinsRéalis is working with local suppliers to identify opportunities for First Nations businesses and local economies


Whiteshell Laboratories is a former Canadian nuclear research centre which ran a number of research and development programs over the years. In 1998, AECL decided to wrap up a number of science programs at the site and over the past several years has been focused on decommissioning. It's a challenging project that has created excellent opportunities for our teams, who are preparing for complete closure by 2025. We will soon be decommissioning one of the largest facilities on the site, the WR-1 reactor.

image of the WR-1 reactor

Chalk river

Chalk River Laboratories is CNL’s main site; operating it is an exciting opportunity headed up by a talented AtkinsRéalis team. Our role involves decommissioning the facility and creating a new lab. It’s an exciting project which has created many opportunities for our employees, including secondments in key management and executive positions.

The team is currently working on environmental remediation and decommissioning. We’re also developing the new site which will focus on nuclear but also include expertise across the nuclear life cycle, medicine, safety and security. The facility will open up partnerships with universities, and science & technology organizations. Our work here also aims enhance CNL’s commercial offerings through cost-effective business models and effective project management.

Nuclear power demonstration (NPD)

The NPD reactor is located about 20 miles from Chalk River and is the site of Canada’s first demonstration of a CANDU nuclear power reactor in Canada. It was in operation for 25 years, serving as an important training facility for reactor engineers and operators. It's another exciting opportunity for our nuclear teams who are on schedule to decommission it by 2020.

Generating opportunities for all

CNL shares our vision to give back to the community. Through local suppliers we’re identifying opportunities for First Nations businesses, as well as other local people and organizations. There is also the opportunity for site staff to learn from CNEA’s partner companies, including potential secondment opportunities and knowledge-sharing through special training programs.

Excited about Canada’s nuclear future? Browse our nuclear careers and start your application.