Of Great Service


Coming to a theatre near you: New documentary film “Of Great Service” celebrates the NRU reactor and its historical role as one of Canada’s most important scientific and research facilities.


Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to present a new documentary entitled “Of Great Service: The Story of National Research Universal.” Produced by SandBay Entertainment, an award-winning Canadian production company, the documentary celebrates and memorializes the contributions of the NRU reactor, through the stories and memories of those who worked within it. Filmed at CNL’s Chalk River Laboratories campus, the film examines the history of the NRU and its role as one of Canada’s most important scientific and research facilities.

One of the largest research reactors in the world, NRU was a landmark achievement in Canadian nuclear science and technology when it went into service on November 3, 1957 on the banks of the Ottawa River in Chalk River, Ontario. For over 60 years, the reactor served Canadians as a supplier of industrial and medical radioisotopes used for the diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening diseases, as a major Canadian facility for neutron physics research, and to provide engineering research and development support for Canada’s fleet of nuclear power reactors.

NRU was also the workplace of Canadian physicist Dr. Bertram Brockhouse, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1994. Using a technique known as ‘neutron scattering’ to explore materials, Dr. Brockhouse invented a new, highly sophisticated neutron instrument known as a triple axis spectrometer, which is now standard equipment at every neutron laboratory throughout the world. For its many achievements, NRU was recognized as a nuclear historic landmark by the American Nuclear Society in 1986.

Looking to the future, the NRU continues to add value to the global nuclear research community. Analyses of materials samples from the reactor and its components, as well as investigations of materials irradiated during the final year of operation, will continue for many years, complementing the unique capabilities of CNL’s recently launched Centre for Reactor Sustainability. The Centre for Reactor Sustainability is one of several new initiatives underway across CNL which apply the unique capabilities and scientific expertise resident within CNL to deliver important contributions in clean energy, safety and security, healthcare and reactor operations.


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