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Construction starts on nuclear materials research centre (ANMRC)



Ontario Construction News staff writer

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) broke ground last week on the new Advanced Nuclear Materials Research Centre (ANMRC) at the Chalk River Laboratories in Northern Ontario.

Scheduled for completion in spring 2028, the complex will be one of the largest nuclear research facilities ever built in Canada.

The 10,000-square-metre building will include 23 laboratories and consolidate aging facilities scheduled for decommissioning at the site.

“Atomic Energy of Canada Limited is looking to the future. ANMRC is central to our vision to drive nuclear innovation,” said Fred Dermarkar, president & CEO, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. “It will be a modern, efficient, world-class nuclear lab to serve the needs of the Government of Canada and the Canadian nuclear industry – not only for today, but for decades into the future.

River campus will feature 12 new shielded hot cells that will enable post-irradiation examination of small modular reactor (SMR) and next-generation nuclear fuels in addition to glovebox facilities to support the development of advanced fuel fabrication concepts.

It’s one of a series of new laboratories, office buildings and support facilities that are being constructed at the Chalk River Laboratories to revitalize the campus.

Also, a Science Collaboration Centre is under construction that will serve as CNL’s central planning and collaboration space. A new two-storey industrial-use support facility and a new site entrance building were recently completed, and several science facilities have been opened in the last few years, including a new hydrogen laboratory complex, a new materials research laboratory and a new tritium laboratory.

Major investments have also been made into infrastructure improvements for the campus, including new domestic water and natural gas service, a modern sanitary sewage treatment facility and a system to more effectively manage storm water.

Nipissing First Nation timber bridge recognized for design excellence




Ontario Construction News staff writer

Duchesnay Creek Bridge on Highway 17B at Nipissing First Nation near North Bay has been awarded the Northern Ontario Excellence Award for Wood Design from Wood WORKS! Ontario.

Built through a limited partnership of Nipissing First Nation and Miller Paving, the $17 million project provided economic and training opportunities for the community, embraced the enhanced use of timber, and respected the bridge’s historical origins.

Nipissing-Timiskaming Assemblyman Anthony Rota presented the award to Chief Scott McLeod and department of transportation officials Matt Curry and Anthony Akomah at the Elders’ Hall of the Union of Ontario Indians in North Bay.

The Duchesnay Creek Bridge connects the City of North Bay and the Nipissing First Nation. It was constructed in 1937 and replaced last year with a one-of-a-kind structure, built using laminated, high-quality Douglas Fir girders.

Wood WORKS! is a national program of the Canadian Wood Council that promotes the use of wood in the construction sector and in the design community. The award program recognizes innovative people and organizations involved in the advancement of wood for all types of construction.

The $12 million bridge replaced older span that was closed in January 2019 due to structural concerns and the new 83-meter structure features a timber main span – the only one of its kind in Ontario. It’s a unique feature that pays tribute to the original structure. The bridge also includes a three-span glued laminated timber girder bridge with curved glued laminated timber struts on the piers.

“The replacement of the Duchesnay Creek Bridge is an excellent example of innovative engineering and environmental commitment, using renewable timber for bridge construction and respecting historical, cultural and architectural considerations

Importance of the existing structure,” Rota said in a statement.

Project highlights:

  • Work was completed over 23 months
  • Project involved both pre-cast (fabricated in the Miller Northern Precast Facility) as well as cast-in-place elements, and close to 30,000 mt of aggregates
  • 93-metre-long (305-foot) and 12-metre-wide (39-foot) bridge consists of three spans and 12, 1,710-mm deep and 315-mm wide glue-laminated girders. Other than the girders and arches, the rest of the bridge was built with reinforced concrete — with some steel piling for the piers
  • Work also included the pavement of the one kilometre of 17B owned by the province and the removal of an abandoned CPR railway bridge

The high-visibility project helped promote the use of mass timber in highway bridges across Canada. By building with wood, this project will result in a total carbon benefit of 991 metric tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to taking over 190 cars off the road for a full year.  According to WoodWorks! Officials, there is a significant shift happening in the construction industry.

“New products and technologies, progressive regulations and a greater focus on reducing the carbon footprint of the built environment have led to a resurgence in timber construction,” said Steven Street, executive director of Wood WORKS! program in Ontario.

“Despite this, wooden bridges are still rare, that’s the way it is. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to celebrate culturally and architecturally significant projects like the Duchesnay Creek Bridge.”


North Bay builder fined $200K for damaging blanding’s turtle habitat


Ontario Construction News staff writer

Consolidated Homes Limited, a home builder based in North Bay, has been ordered to pay $200,000 to the Nature Conservancy of Canada for damaging the habitat of blanding’s turtles.

Blanding’s turtles are a threatened species in Ontario. The species can be found in parts of southern, central and eastern Ontario.

In a press release, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said that Consolidated Homes Limited was convicted of using heavy equipment to remove vegetation near Circle Lake, in North Bay, where it damaged a turtle habitat.

Court heard that during the summer of 2018 the company used heavy equipment to remove vegetation from a property adjacent to Circle Lake in North Bay causing damage to turtle habitat.

The ministry said staff previously warned the company that blanding’s turtles lived in the area around Circle Lake, and that they needed to obtain a permit before they proceeded with any changes to the area.

Conservation officers used a ministry-owned drone to map the extent of the damage.

Justice Paula Nichols considered the prior warnings from the ministry and other similar convictions under the Endangered Species Act to determine sentencing.

In sentencing the company, Justice of the Peace Paula Nichols considered the prior warnings from the ministry, as well as other similar convictions under the Endangered Species Act to assess sentencing.

The case was heard over multiple days in the spring of 2022 and a decision was released last month.