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Home / Of Great Service: The Story of National Research Universal

Of Great Service: The Story of National Research Universal

Catalogue Number:  000013
Producer:  Canadian Nuclear Laboratories
Subject:  Canadian History, Canadian Social Studies, Documentary, Physics, Science
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2018
Running Time:  53

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Of Great Service tells the story of the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor in Chalk River, Ontario and its historical 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 went it went into service on November 3, 1957 on the banks of the Ottawa River in Deep 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.

This film tells an a story of outstanding Canadian engineering, creativity, ingenuity and imagination. The NRU is a Canadian success story, rarely told , but worthy of recognition and celebration.


  • NRU created and supported the global medical radioisotope industry. Isotopes from NRU have benefitted more than 1 billion patients around the globe.
  • A 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Dr. Bertram Brockhouse for his pioneering work in neutron scattering. This was developed in Chalk River at the NRX and NRU reactors.
  • Research conducted at NRU lead to the development of the CANDU power reactor, a technology which has positioned Ontario among global leaders in clean energy.
  • This film provides a rare opportunity to view footage of an operating nuclear reactor, and includes footage of the final moments of operation filmed in the NRU Control Room on March 31, 2018.
  • The documentary contains the stories, thoughts and memories of both past and present staff, and is an emotional story not only of the reactor but of the impact it has had on those who worked within it.

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