Francis "Frank" Saunders: April 4, 1952, to July 4, 2020 - Canadian Nuclear Association

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Francis “Frank” Saunders: April 4, 1952, to July 4, 2020

It is with heavy hearts that we commemorate our friend, colleague and CNA board chair, Frank Saunders.

“Frank was a warm, kind and amiable person. He was also a champion of the nuclear industry with an unfailing focus on progressing nuclear innovation, standards and awareness,” said John MacQuarrie, President of BWXT Canada Ltd. and vice-chair of the CNA Board of Directors. “He had a profound career journey and led our board into a new era of nuclear. We have much to be thankful for because of Frank’s leadership. He will be greatly missed.”

A respected leader, a passionate contributor and a friend and mentor to many, Frank passed away on Saturday, July 4 at the Markdale Hospital in Grey-Bruce County. He was born in Miramichi, N.B. on April 4, 1954.

Frank began his career in the nuclear industry with Ontario Hydro where he held management positions in several disciplines, including engineering, operations, quality assurance, safety and inspection. Frank considered his time as a licensed control room shift supervisor and his last four years organizing and carrying out plant safety evaluations as the highlights of his time with Ontario Hydro. These independent oversight inspections included North American and international plants and a two-year assignment with the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.

After 13 years with Ontario Hydro Nuclear, Frank moved to McMaster University as manager of the McMaster Nuclear Reactor. Subsequently, he became director of Nuclear Operations and Facilities where, as senior nuclear operating authority, he oversaw operations at McMaster’s Nuclear Reactor, Accelerator Facility, Nuclear Research Building Laboratories and support facilities.

In 2001, Frank returned to the Bruce site with the launch of Bruce Power as vice-president of Safety and Environment. Since 2001, he held senior positions in a variety of areas, including Safety and Environment, Security, Emergency Response and most recently Nuclear Oversight and Regulatory Affairs. Frank was particularly proud of Bruce Power’s strong reputation in these areas and the opportunity he had to play a role in this.

Before his more than 35 years in the nuclear industry, Frank served 12 years in the Canadian Armed Forces as a land ordnance engineer.

He was elected to the Canadian Nuclear Association board in June 2016 and served as chair since September 2018.

In 2019 Frank launched the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII), where he began leading its establishment as an international centre of excellence for applied research and training. He was NII’s first president and chief executive officer. Establishing NII was a lasting expression of Frank’s commitment to the industry and to creating greater opportunities for people to learn and work in our rural communities.

Last year, Frank was recognized by the CSA Group with their highest honour, the John Jenkins Award for outstanding lifetime achievement. The award recognized Frank’s work advocating for the development and use of CSA nuclear standards and improving overall value of CSA’s nuclear standards program.

Frank worked with the CANDU Owners Group’s Nuclear Safety and Environmental Affairs line of business and contributed to the Regulatory Affairs Vice Presidents Forum, Chief Nuclear Officer Forum and sponsored the Nuclear Environmental Affairs and Emergency Preparedness and Response Peer Groups. Most recently, Frank had been part of the core team leading the small modular reactor effort.

Frank semi-retired in November and was enjoying his time in the woods, working on the retirement property he shared with his family. In the meantime, Frank remained active with NII as a member of its board of directors, as well as focusing on advancing small modular reactor technology in Canada and as the CNA’s board chair.

A link to Frank’s obituary can be found here.

The CNA is curating a memorial for Frank for its members and his family. If you have stories or photos to share, please send them to Ashley Anstey: ansteya@cna.ca.