The sun gleams off the white Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) building in Saugeen Shores as the guests of honour gather for the ceremonial ribbon cutting. After a snap of oversized gold scissors, the group heads through the front doors of what was once a police station, now refurbished into the colourful open offices of NII’s new innovation space.
Once inside, guests might don a virtual reality headset to get up close and personal with a nuclear reactor—or try their hand at making the ultimate paper airplane, one of NII Explore’s more popular STEM lessons. Or they might admire the freshly painted mural in The Garage, a place where police officers once parked their cruisers now converted into a home for technology exhibits and workshops.
At least they would have, if the realities of the pandemic hadn’t made public gatherings too unsafe.
So instead, NII held its official public opening on Tuesday the same way many of us have learned to work over the last year: remotely and virtually.
NII’s space at 620 Tomlinson Drive in Port Elgin was built to be a community resource, a venue for sharing ideas and creativity, a place to learn and to get a hands-on feel for the technologies of the future.
And when the virus lifts, it will be. But until then, NII offers everyone this virtual tour of its space—old jail cells and all.
And someday soon, if all goes well, NII looks forward to welcoming the community through its front doors—for real.
“We are extremely impressed with the new space that NII has developed in our facility,” said Saugeen Shores Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “We are very proud that NII calls Saugeen Shores home and that we are able to partner with them through our lease agreement and through the Municipal Innovation Council.”
“The Nuclear Innovation Institute is bringing a new energy and new opportunities into this region,” said Mike Rencheck, Chair, NII Board of Directors and President and CEO of Bruce Power. “Whether it’s educational, economic, or whether it’s just the opportunity to collaborate and coordinate—together we can all advance and work on the things that matter to Bruce, Grey and Huron counties.”
About the Nuclear Innovation Institute
The Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides a platform to accelerate innovation and the implementation of business relevant solutions for the nuclear industry. NII’s goal is to shape a Canadian nuclear industry that embraces new thinking, new technologies and new lines of business that can drive the global shift to a low-carbon future.