PROBUS Club June Speaker: Jessica Linthorne explains the role of the Nuclear Innovation Institute

Each month, the Saugeen Shores Men’s PROBUS club invites a key speaker and June’s speaker, Jessica Linthorne, spoke to a full house as it was also the annual ‘spousal’ luncheon.

(L) Vice-deputy mayor Mike Myatt, Probus member Randy Schnaar and Jessica Linthorne sort out the slide presentation as Pres. Brian French (R) looks on


Linthorne leads the Clean Energy Frontier program for the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) located in Port Elgin (former police building).

With a background in economic development and communications, previously with the Town of Saugeen Shores, and with a collaborative and date-driven approach to problem solving, she has the skills to implement effective strategies.

The Clean Energy Frontier program within the NII is an awareness-raising and economic development program led by Bruce Power and Bruce County focusing on promoting the contribution that the tri-county (Bruce, Grey and Huron) is making to move toward a net-zero future.

“The purpose of the NII is to have a lasting impact while working to compete in clean energy technology and to make sure that our region is front and centre when it comes to clean energy,” said Linthorne.  “We (NII) are non-profit and are always looking for efficiencies that are safer and smarter.  We also have a lot of work to do on how we create awareness on the need for nuclear energy.”

Linthorne also went on to explain that NII is results driven and that it has been working with students throughout the Bluewater District School Board on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) subject that have included robotics, 3D printing, data science and other areas.  “We have not only been teaching students but also some 350 teachers about STEM programs.”

“In 2016, when Mike Rencheck became President & CEO of Bruce Power for what would be a 20 year project, his concept was that companies being supported by the company had to be a part of the community,” explained Linthorne.  “As a result more than 60 supplier companies have become part of the community where they have brought their families to live, have become home owners and their children are now in our schools.  It was a unique, community building concept.”

Jessica Linthorne answered questions

Following Linthorne’s talk, she opened up the floor to questions.  Among the subjects inquired about were the proposed deep geologic repository (DGR), relationships between the NII and universities, the possibility of small nuclear reactors (SMR) and other subjects related to the nuclear industry.

“We have approximately 20 employees at the NII, with some on contract,” said Linthorne.  “We each bring our own set of skills and talents and networks of colleagues. Our goal is to continue to engage youth so that they understand the nuclear sector and encourage them to want to become involved in it and to also make our region the leading Clean Energy Hub.”