Keep in touch with the rest of the Canadian neutron research community by joining CINS. Membership is free.
Investments in Canadian labs win Nobel Prizes
October 6, 2015
The 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Arthur McDonald and Takaaki Kajita for their discoveries of neutrino oscillations and neutrino mass. Dr. MacDonald performed much of his prize work at Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, and began his work at Chalk River Laboratories.
Chris Wiebe, CINS President, writes in the Globe and Mail:
Monday, February 9, 2015
On Friday, the Government of Canada announced that Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) will operate the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor until March 31, 2018, subject to relicensing. "At the conclusion of this period, the reactor will be placed in a state of storage with surveillance until decommissioning," said Bob Walker, President and CEO of CNL.
In response to this announcement, CNL has communicated that it is conducting an assessment of the business case for a new neutron source and is planning for a ‘neutron gap’. It further plans to take full advantage of the remaining three years of NRU operations to maximize benefit from the reactor, and will continue operating the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (CNBC). It is expected that the CNBC will continue to offer access to neutron beams to the user community, to maximum extent possible through March 2018.
CINS is monitoring developments and will communicate with members as more details become available.
- Professor Chris Wiebe, CINS President
Annual General Meeting
The University of Toronto hosted the annual general meeting (AGM) on November 14-15. The meeting was an opportunity for discussion of both science and policy.
Official AGM records are now available.
Annual General Meeting
The University of Toronto is pleased to host the annual general meeting of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering on November 14-15. Please reserve from Friday evening to Saturday evening for the program. The meeting is an opportunity for discussion of both science and policy. Go to the 2014 AGM page.
CNBC Activity Report for 2011, 2012, and 2013 Now Available
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.
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.
2013 Annual General Meeting
August 15, 2013 - The 2013 Annual General Meeting will be held at McMaster University on October 25-26, 2013.
A proposal for important changes to the structure of CINS will be considered and may be decided upon at this meeting.
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 http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/media-room/news-releases/2013/6890
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.
Febraury 19, 2012 - CINS will be holding the 12th Canadian Neutron Scattering Summer School at Chalk River on June 2 - 7, 2013. The school will be organized by the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre. The curriculum is a broad overview of neutron methods and applications in a wide range of scientific areas.
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.
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
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 NRUCanada.ca.
Report on the 11th Canadian Neutron Scattering Summer School
June 17, 2011 - What brings dozens of graduate students and research scientists together from across Canada and the world for a week in the woods of the Ottawa Valley? An education on how to use the tools for world-class materials research at the NRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre (NRC-CNBC) at Chalk River Laboratories, a site owned and operated by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL).
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.
April 5, 2011 - At the 11th Canadian Neutron Scattering Summer School, CINS will be sponsoring public lectures, including "Japan 03/11 – Implications for Nuclear Science and Technology", “Superconductivity: The magic of the quantum world in front of your eyes,” and “Splitting Atoms, Canadian Style.”
11th Canadian Neutron Scattering Summer School
Febraury 4, 2011 - CINS will be holding the 11th Canadian Neutron Scattering Summer School at Chalk River on May 8 – 13, 2011. The school will be organized by the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre. The school consists of morning lectures followed by afternoon hands-on experiments on the spectrometers at the NRU reactor.
November 29, 2010 - Federal politicians are keeping the possibility of a new research reactor open as a part of the public discussion in Parliament. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources has recommended, "That the Government of Canada study the feasibility of a new multi-purpose research reactor in order to accurately estimate construction and operating costs as well as potential sources of income and report the results to Parliament."
The recommendation came on November 24 in a report entitled, "The National Research Universal Reactor Shutdown and the Future of Medical Isotope Production and Research in Canada."
Parliamentary protocol gives the Government 120 days to respond to committee reports.
Saskatoon, SK, October 19, 2010 - The proposal of the Province of Saskatchewan for building a nuclear reactor for scientific research on the campus of the University of Saskatchewan was unanimously endorsed at a gathering of Canadian scientists in Saskatoon on Saturday.
The event was the annual meeting of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering (CINS), which represents over 400 Canadian researchers and students from universities and industry that use neutron beams to study advanced materials.
"Our members are very excited by the proposal to build a new neutron beam research reactor here,” said Dominic Ryan, President of CINS. “The strong support and enthusiasm by the university, the city, and the province to build this visionary facility is very clear.”
The proposed facility, called the Canadian Neutron Source (CNS), will be a complement to the Canadian Light Source (CLS). Locating these together at the university would enhance the potential research impacts and greatly increase the stature of Saskatchewan in scientific research. Because both are scientific user facilities, greater numbers of foreign scientists, as well as researchers from all over Canada, would travel here to conduct their research.
"These are complementary research tools because neutrons and light see materials in very different ways," said Dominic Ryan. “Taking the results from both yields a more complete understanding than either method could provide separately.”
The CNS would supply neutron beams to an array of research instruments in much the same way that the storage ring at the CLS supplies very intense light beams to its instruments.
"The CNS will use a small reactor core, about the size of a beer keg," said Dominic Ryan.
The CNS will support research on materials of many kinds, including bio-materials and pharmaceuticals for the medical and life sciences. It will support a spectrum of research and development, from fundamental research into new exotic materials, such as superconductors which have no electrical resistance, to development of industrial materials and manufacturing processes.
For more information:
NRU Reactor Returns to Service
August 17, 2010 - AECL has returned the NRU reactor to high power operations. It hit 110 MW (80% of full power) at about 06:00 today. For more information, consult AECL's NRUcanada website.
As a result of this good news, neutron beam experiments are resuming at the NRC - Canadian Neutron Beam Centre. See Apply for Beamtime for more information.
NRU Repair - Almost There!
August 5, 2010 - AECL has completed the welding of the NRU reactor vessel. Neutron beams are expected to be available by mid-August. For more information, consult AECL's NRUcanada website.
Proposals for beam time at the NRC-CNBC are encouraged. See Apply for Beamtime for more information.
July 2, 2010 - A panel of experts representing the research functions of the NRU reactor (materials research using neutron beams and nuclear energy development) addressed a gathering of scientists as part of the American Conference on Neutron Scattering in Ottawa earlier this week.
As co-organizer of the session, CINS prepared the following outcome statement based on the views expressed by the panelists:
For more information, the following resources are available:
CINS AGM: The Future of Neutron Scattering in Canada
NRU Reactor Weld Complete
June 16, 2010 - AECL has completed the welding of the NRU reactor vessel. Neutron beams are expected to be available by the end of July. For more information, consult AECL's NRUcanada website.
During the shutdown of the NRU reactor, CINS encourages proposals for beam time at the NRC-CNBC and simultaneous applications to foreign facilities. See Getting beamtime during the shutdown for more information.
The Future of Neutron Scattering in Canada
2010 May 31 - CINS is co-hosting a special session at the 2010 ACNS conference, entitled, The future of Neutron Scattering in Canada. This session will discuss recent developments related to the prospect for a new research reactor for Canada. The need for such a facility will be discussed, both from the perspectives of neutron scattering and from nuclear energy R&D. It will also provide a forum for stakeholders to discuss a course of action.
NRU To Be Fixed by the End of July 2010
2010 May 31 - The NRU reactor is expected to be fixed by the end of July. See AECL's latest status reports on reparing the NRU reactor.
March 31, 2010 - The Government of Canada (GoC) released its response to report of the NRCan Expert Review Panel on Medical Isotope Production. Concerning the NRU reactor and a possible new reactor, the GoC Response stated:
Concerning isotope production:
More information, including both the full report and the GoC's Response, are available on the isotope section of Natural Resources Canada' s website:
CNBC Annual Report to CINS for 2008 Activities
December 9, 2009 - The NRCan Expert Review Panel on Medical Isotope Production reported to the Minister on November 30, and the report was made public on December 5.
The report discusses a a wide range of options, considering feasibility, timeliness and costs and identify two key technologies for further development. The first, and clearest choice, is the new research reactor. The second idea is to use cyclotrons for local Tc99m production from Mo100 targets in population centres.
Some highlights taken from the executive summary:
The lowest-risk path to new Mo-99/Tc-99m production capacity is to build a new multi-purpose research reactor. The research reactor also promises the most associated benefits to Canadians based on its multiple purposes.
Research reactors are shared facilities that have all the benefits associated with multi-use facilities, including the benefit of costs being spread over a large base of activities.
We recommend that the government expeditiously engage in the replacement of the NRU reactor as we believe a multi-purpose research reactor represents the best primary option to create a sustainable source of Mo-99, recognizing that the reactor's other missions would also play a role in justifying the costs. With the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor approaching the end of its life cycle, a decision on a new research reactor is needed quickly to minimize any gap between the start-up of a new reactor and the permanent shutdown of the NRU.
The following resources are available for more information:
2009 Annual Meeting
CINS held its 2009 annual meeting on October 30-31, at the University of Toronto.
National Lab to Replace Chalk River Reactor
The Canadian science community that uses the neutron beams produced by the NRU reactor in Chalk River has released its plan to replace it with a national laboratory.
"That the National Research Council asked us to produce our plan for the proposed Canadian Neutron Centre (CNC) shows that this is being seriously considered," said Dr. Ryan, CINS President.Read More...
NRU was shutdown for maintenance on May 14, 2009. Currently, the reactor is expected to be back up, likely in the first quarter of 2010. See AECL's NRU status reports for details. Proposals for beam time at the Canadian Neutron Beam Centre are still encouraged, because we aim to be running approved user projects (especially those for Canadian academics) immediately on restart of the NRU reactor.
Meanwhile, we are pleased to announce limited travel assistance for those who choose to apply in parallel for beam time at foreign neutron laboratories.
CNBC Annual Report to CINS for 2007 Activities
2009 January 9
10th Neutron Summer School at Chalk River: June 15-19, 2009
2008 December 5
Annual General Meeting 2008: Oct 17-18
2008 August 25
The CINS Plan to 2050 has been printed!
2008 April 28
The plan describes the vision of many members of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering (CINS) - who we are, where we are heading and what we need to get there. At its core, this plan assumes that a decision will be taken by Canada to invest in a new Canadian Neutron Centre (CNC). We look forward to the CNC as a world-class, multipurpose research reactor, which will supersede and expand the capabilities of today's NRU reactor at Chalk River. Our key requirements for the CNC are a world-class neutron flux, a cold-neutron source and a modern neutron guide hall with beam lines that enable research on soft materials, nanostructures, and industrial components not previously possible in Canada. To compete with neutron facilities in other countries, we also require facilities to maintain a vigorous program of innovation in neutron scattering methods, a working environment that is conducive to scientific exchange among visiting users from across Canada and abroad, and a governance / management model that respects the operational needs of our neutron user community.
NRU Reactor - Routine operation
2008 April 21
2007 Annual General Meeting
October 26-27 2007
NRU 50th anniversary
2007 was the 50th anniversary year for the NRU reactor: Canada's most productive science facility and the source of neutrons for the NRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre. You can read more about NRU and its achivements at www.NRUreactor.ca or on wikipedia. The actual day for the 50th celebration was November 3rd. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited held events on the 2nd and 3rd.
2006 Annual General Meeting
October 13-15 2006
The meeting highlighted a new neutron reflectometer, which is being installed at the NRU reactor in Chalk River, Canada's only major source of neutrons for materials research. Building the neutron reflectometer is a national project, led by the University of Western Ontario, with support of twelve other universities, and funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation in partnership with the Ontario Innovation Trust, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, and the National Research Council of Canada. The new reflectometer will enable researchers and students in Canada to investigate materials that are important for health, the environment, computer memory and fundamental research in chemistry, physics and materials science. Dr. C. Majkrzak, from the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology, spoke about the new Canadian reflectometer and declared it to be a world-leading design that will enable forefront research in nanotechnology.
The meeting also kick-started a Long-range plan for neutron beam research facilities in Canada to a time horizon of 2050. Working groups considered the requirements for future neutron beam instruments from the perspectives of their scientific fields, including biophysics, polymer chemistry, magnetism, superconductivity, materials science, engineering, structural chemistry and earth science. International observers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and NIST provided feedback as presentations were made to a plenary session. The merits of various possible neutron beam instruments were debated in considering how best to meet the requirements of Canadian neutron beam users. The Long Range Plan for Neutron Instrumentation to 2050 is expected to be completed by December 2006, through the work of a committee led by Prof. J. Greedan of McMaster University, supported by Profs. Thad Harroun (Brock University), Lynann Clapham (Queen's University), Carl Adams (St. Francis Xavier University) and Dr. John Root (NRC - Canadian Neutron Beam Centre).
Developing a long-range plan for neutron beam instruments is timely because the NRU reactor is nearly 50 years old. It is licensed to operate to about 2012, but a replacement would take several years to build and would constitute the largest investment Canada ever made in the national infrastructure for science and industry. Therefore, careful consideration of user requirements is needed, not only for materials research with neutron beams, but also for support of current nuclear power technology, development of future energy systems, and support of Canada's nuclear medicine industry, which today is the world's biggest supplier of isotopes for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The status report from the NRC Canadian Neutron Beam Centre at the 2006 CINS AGM is available in Powerpoint (3 Mb) and PDF format. You may need to download the free software required to view Powerpoint or PDF files.
2005 Annual General Meeting
October 14-16 2005
The AGM included a series of talks from the Canadian neutron scattering community, showing how broad an impact neutron scattering has across the spectrum of Canadian science. There was an update on the plans for participation by the Canadian neutron scattering community in the Spallation Neutron Source, currently under construction at Oak Ridge in the U.S.A.
2004 Annual General Meeting
September 24-25 2004
Minutes of the Meeting (90 kb)
A big THANK YOU to Michael Steinitz (St. Francis Xavier University) for hosting the meeting and making the stay in Antigonish so enjoyable.
Symposium on "Canadian Participation at the Spallation Neutron Source."
October 17-18 2003
To launch Canadian involvement in this project, this symposium will feature presentations and discussion led by Canadian and international experts as to the outstanding new science opportunities, technical developments and research priorities relevant to the Canadian neutron beam community.All interested materials scientists are strongly encouraged to attend.
CINS presentation on the proposed Canadian Neutron Facility.
August 20, 2002