Madam Chair and members of the committee, let me begin by telling you that today I attended the first day of the Women in Nuclear Canada conference. This year is the largest attendance the conference has ever had, selling out at 500 attendees.
I can tell you that the energy and excitement in the room was invigorating. These women, who make up 23% of the nuclear industry, are mothers, daughters, sisters, students and young leaders who know they have a career in an industry that is making a difference in our world. They know they are supporting a technology that plays an instrumental role in promoting human health and addressing the world's challenges in clean energy and environmental sustainability. These women are our nuclear workforce of today and of the future, a future which includes nuclear as part of its energy mix.
I would also like to acknowledge that this conference has the privilege of indigenous participation and has embraced their beautiful culture, teachings and traditions. I will share what I learned this week with my children. The conference is being held in Niagara Falls, which is situated within the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabe peoples.
Let me turn now to the matter of SMRs, which is why we are gathered here this evening. As you may know, the Government of Canada, through AECL, designed and built nuclear demonstration reactors, research reactors and the generating CANDU reactors in Canada. Today we no longer build reactors but we support reactor developers through the Chalk River Laboratories, the largest scientific facility in Canada.
As you have seen, in the world of SMRs there are a great variety of designs. Our role, as laboratory owner, is to support reactor vendors in validating those designs. Our broader role is to meet the Government of Canada's requirements for nuclear expertise, certainly for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and for another 13 government departments and agencies.
We deliver those roles through our oversight of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, or CNL. In addition to activities to revitalize our campus, they're performing hundreds of experiments, qualification tests and nuclear technology demonstrations every day.
The foundational sciences of SMR technologies are not new. Universities and research laboratories around the world have been researching, developing and demonstrating these technologies for decades. That the market has rebranded them as SMRs and brought them forward at a time when we need every available technology to solve this climate crisis is a crucial turning point.
AECL is here to support this pivotal moment in time. As we turn our minds to getting Canada to net zero by 2050, AECL has been working to ensure that the Government of Canada maintains and retains strong capabilities in the most promising SMR technologies that the market will bring to mitigate this climate crisis.
AECL has the ability to create a nexus where academia, government and private industry can align to ensure safe and expeditious deployment of nuclear technologies. As an example, last month CNL broke ground on the advanced nuclear materials research centre. This centre will have 23 labs and 12 hot cells, and is a continuation of services that will support Canada's reactors, both large and small, to produce electricity and medical isotopes to 2060 and beyond.
We do not promote nuclear to the exclusion of other renewables—that is not necessary. In fact, they can be complementary. Nuclear reactors like SMRs are quickly becoming catalysts for the hydrogen market due to their reliable source of electricity and heat, both of which are needed to serve the different hydrogen production technologies. Furthermore, SMRs can be switched into and out of hydrogen production as electricity demand fluctuates.
At our Chalk River site, CNL is already exploring how to leverage various clean and renewable energy sources and how they work together in a hybrid energy system. I urge you to consider these exciting developments.
I will conclude by extending an invitation, through you, Madam Chair, to the committee, to come to visit Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and see what AECL is accomplishing for the benefit of all Canadians.
Thank you. Meegwetch.