Premier Brad Wall
Photo by Mark Ferguson
"In the early 1950's, scientists at the University of Saskatchewan pioneered the use of Cobalt 60 for cancer treatment," Premier Wall said. "Today we are taking another important step in re-capturing that international leadership position in nuclear medicine and expanding it to include research in materials science and small reactor design."
The province's $30 million investment in nuclear research builds on January's announcement of $12 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments to build a new linear accelerator and support research into the production medical isotopes at the Canadian Light Source.
"Our province produces 10.2 million kilograms of uranium annually, and as the Premier is fond of saying, the next ounce of yellowcake we add value to will be the first," Minister Norris said. "Today's announcement, and some other exciting announcements in the coming days and weeks are significant signposts on the road to developing excellence in a number of different nuclear-related fields."
University of Saskatchewan President Peter MacKinnon welcomed the provincial investment and said the new research centre will complement and strengthen the university's existing nuclear research infrastructure. That includes the Canadian Light Source synchrotron, the Saskatchewan Research Council's SLOWPOKE research reactor and the university's STOR-M Tokamak fusion reactor.
"With this exciting new multi-disciplinary centre, the U of S will build on its historical strengths to become an international centre of excellence in nuclear research, training and innovation, as well as in studies into the full environmental and social context of nuclear development," said MacKinnon. "We will be able to hire new faculty researchers, support many graduate students, and seize new opportunities for leading-edge research."
The new research centre will focus on nuclear science and engineering, materials and neutron science and nuclear health sciences. It will also facilitate an expansion of academic programs in nuclear engineering, nuclear and reactor physics and radiochemistry.
"The new centre will spark research partnerships with industry, universities and other research institutions," Norris said. "Work will include development of advanced materials for construction, aerospace and small reactor designs; and medical imaging for diagnosis of cancer and heart disease."
"Our government has long been committed to innovation, and this new centre marks a bold start to a new venture," Premier Wall said. "I look forward to more exciting announcements here at the University of Saskatchewan in the days and weeks to come that will build on today's investment in nuclear research."