The Canadian government has awarded C$50.5 million (about $40.2 million) to Moltex Energy Canada to support small modular reactor research and technology development in New Brunswick. The investment, announced March 18, was provided by the government’s Strategic Innovation Fund and its Regional Economic Growth Through Innovation program, part of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).
In a press release on the funding, Moltex said it plans to build the world’s first 300-MW Stable Salt Reactor–Wasteburner (SSR–W) and WAste to Stable Salt (WATSS) facility at the Point Lepreau Generating Station site in Saint John, New Brunswick, and provide electricity to the grid by the early 2030s. According to the company, its WATSS process, which recycles existing used nuclear fuel, has the potential to reduce storage needs for that fuel.
Moltex also noted its expectation that jobs created through the project will, over the next 15 years, contribute approximately C$1 billion (about $800 million) to Canada’s gross domestic product and result in some C$100 million (about $79.7 million) in federal government revenue.
Quotable: “The government of Canada supports the use of this innovative technology to help deliver lower-emitting energy sources and build on Canada’s global leadership in small nuclear reactors,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science, and industry. “As we continue to protect Canadians and support them through the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also lay the foundation for a better-prepared, healthier, and more prosperous Canada. The investments announced today have the potential to play a critical role in fighting climate change and will boost Canada’s economic stabilization after the pandemic.”
Seamus O’Regan Jr., minister of natural resources, added, “SMRs are a potentially game-changing technology that can lower emissions, create jobs, and increase our competitiveness. This supports workers in New Brunswick and strengthens Canada’s position in developing nuclear technology.”
Further funding: Canada also announced two additional investments through the ACOA: C$4,999,568 (about $3,979,731) to help NB Power Corporation prepare the site at its Point Lepreau location for SMR deployment and demonstration, and C$561,750 (about $447,161) to help the University of New Brunswick’s Centre for Nuclear Energy Research expand its capacity to support SMR technology development in New Brunswick.