The CANDU Nuclear Reactor

AECL's origins date back to 1942 when a joint British-Canadian laboratory was set up in Montreal, Quebec, under the administration of the National Research Council, to develop a design for a nuclear reactor.

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The Nuclear Fission Process
From "Atoms at Your Service", 1974 (AECL)

The possible use of nuclear energy for electric power production was discussed in the early years of the nuclear research program, but the first definitive key decision came early in 1953 when C.D. Howe stated in the House of Commons, "Here in Canada we believe that the time has come to undertake the development of atomic power in this country, and discussions are going on as to ways and means of bringing about that development. We feel that the production of power is the concern of those who distribute power, organizations like the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario, or the major privately-owned power companies." Half a century after Rutherford's discoveries, Howe, MacKenzie and Laurence were pushing Canada into 20th century high technology. "Canadians were no barefoot waterboys when atomic science matured into nuclear technology," writes Ray Silver, a journalist and author who has been observing the nuclear scene for more than 40 years.
Howe's conclusion led quickly to another key decision when Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) agreed to set up a study team, headed up by Harold Smith of Ontario Hydro, to look at a small power reactor. In addition to Ontario Hydro staff, the team had representatives from other utilities, industry and consulting engineers. The specific goal was to have generating stations with excellent safety, environmental, and reliability characteristics, developed and made in Canada, so as to provide an overall benefit to the Canadian community.

The ZEEP Reactor - Canada's First Nuclear Reactor

Early Years of Nuclear Research in Canada (pdf file) Reprinted courtesy of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

Other sites for Canadian Nuclear Power:

AECL -- History of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited