Another Canadian province signs on for SMR development

April 20, 2021, 9:31AMNuclear News
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney at an online event on April 14, after signing an agreement on small modular reactor development. Photo: Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has added his signature to a memorandum of understanding on small modular reactor development that was signed in 2019 by the premiers of New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Kenney signed the document last week at a virtual event that also promoted the release of Feasibility of Small Modular Reactor Development and Deployment in Canada—a study formally requested as part of the MOU.

“Alberta has always been committed to clean, affordable energy,” Kenney said. “Small modular reactors are an exciting new technology that could be used in the future to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions, for example, by generating power for Canadian oil sands producers. Nuclear is the cleanest form of electricity production, and with SMRs, is now more affordable and scalable for industrial use. We are excited to be part of this group that will help develop Canadian SMR technology.”

Study partners: The feasibility study was prepared by Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, NB Power, and SaskPower for the governments of New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. Those provinces, the study says, share a collective interest in SMRs as a clean energy option to address climate change and meet regional energy demands, while also responding to the need for economic growth and innovation.

Results: In the study, three streams of SMR project proposals were developed for consideration by the governments of New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan:

■ Stream 1 proposes a first grid-scale SMR project of approximately 300 MW constructed at the Darlington nuclear site in Ontario by 2028. Subsequent units in Saskatchewan would follow, with the first projected to be in service in 2032.

■ Stream 2 involves two fourth-generation advanced SMRs that would be developed in New Brunswick through the construction of demonstration units at the Point Lepreau nuclear plant: an ARC Clean Energy demonstration unit in 2030, followed by Moltex Energy’s waste-recycling facility and reactor by the early 2030s.

■ Stream 3 proposes a new class of micro-SMRs designed primarily to replace the use of diesel in remote communities and mines. A 5-MW gas-cooled demonstration project is underway at the Chalk River site in Ontario, with plans to be in service by 2026.

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