Experiential learning opportunity

CNS Essay Contest

Submissions due by Feb 28th, 2023
Areas of interest: English Language Arts, Environment, Science


The Canadian Nuclear Society is excited to invite high school students, grades 9 through 12, across Canada to participate in a nuclear-science-and-technology-based essay contest. The theme of the 2023 essay contest is “Small Modular Reactors”. Students are free to explore various topics around this theme and select one as the subject for the essay. The following are some examples of essay topics:

  • Why should we build small modular reactors in Canada?
  • Generation IV SMRs for generation Z.
  • Small modular reactors and the 2050 net-zero target.
  • Conventional large reactors versus SMRs – advantages and disadvantages.
  • My favourite SMR and why.
  • SMRs and electric vehicles.
  • SMRs and their fuels.

Rules of the contest

The following are rules and guidelines for this contest:

  1. The contest is open for high school students (grade 9 through 12) enrolled in public or private high schools in Canada.
  2. A student can only submit one essay for this contest.
  3. The essay must be original and has never been submitted to other essay contest(s) or publication.
  4. The length of the essay is to be 1000 words or less, plus acknowledgements or references, as needed.
  5. The essay could be prepared in English or French.
  6. Formatting of the essay:
    1. The first page of the essay contains the following information:
      • The title of the essay.
      • The name of the author.
      • Grade and school name.
      • Contact information.
    2. The essay starts on the second page. Please note that while the title is to be included, the name of the student should not be included here.
    3. To ensure a uniform presentation of the papers, the following specifications should be followed:
      • The essay is prepared on a letter-size (8.5-inch×11-inch) paper.
      • The text should be in normal 12-point Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman.
      • The text should be left-justified.
      • A one-inch margin is to be used on all sides.
      • The essay should be submitted in a PDF format to the following email address:  essay_contest@cns-snc.ca.
  7. The student should not receive any assistance during the writing of the essay. However, consultations with teachers or parents when performing research for the essay are encouraged.
  8. The essay will be judged based on the following criteria:
    1. SMR instead of nuclear power in general is the focus of the essay.
    2. Originality on the subject.
    3. Effectiveness of focus and organization.
    4. Clarity and effectiveness of expression.
    5. Proper acknowledgement of source of materials used in the essay, as applicable.
    6. Correctness in spelling, diction, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.
  9. Decisions of the judges are final.

Important Dates

  • Deadline for essay submission    : February 28, 2023, or after 250 essays are received, which ever one comes first.
  • Announcement of the winners     : May 19, 2023


The CNS will award the following prizes to the three best essayist:

  • First place: $1,000 and a certificate
  • Second place: $ 500 and a certificate
  • Third place: $ 250 and a certificate

The prizes will be distributed shortly after the announcement of the winners. Prior to awarding the prizes, the CNS will contact students’ schools to confirm their enrollment status. Moreover, the winners will also be mentioned during the Honors & Awards ceremony at the 2023 Annual CNS Conference.

How to join

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