The governments of four Canadian provinces—Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Alberta—have published a plan outlining the path forward for the advancement of small modular reactors, which could provide the nation with safe, reliable, and zero-emissions energy and create new export opportunities.
The 60-page document, A Strategic Plan for the Deployment of Small Modular Reactors, builds on an SMR feasibility study conducted under a memorandum of understanding signed in 2019 by the premiers of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan and in 2021 by the premier of Alberta. Prepared by Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, New Brunswick Power, and SaskPower, the study concluded that SMR development would support domestic energy needs, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and position Canada as a global leader in clean technologies and the fight against climate change.
Key priorities: Released on March 28, the strategic plan identifies five areas for SMR development and deployment:
- Positioning Canada as a global SMR technology hub by propelling three separate streams of SMR development, covering both on-grid and off-grid applications.
- Promoting a solid nuclear regulatory framework that focuses on the health and safety of the public and the environment while ensuring reasonable costs and timelines.
- Securing federal government commitments on financial and policy support for new SMR technologies that could lead to substantial economic benefits across the country and help meet emissions reduction targets.
- Creating opportunities for participation from indigenous communities and public engagement.
- Working with the federal government and nuclear operators on a robust nuclear waste management plan for SMRs.
What they’re saying: “I look forward to continued cooperation through our joint strategic plan as we make progress toward Canada’s first on-grid and off-grid SMRs, both planned to be built in Ontario,” said Todd Smith, Ontario’s minister of energy. “We know the world is watching us when it comes to SMRs, and I’m confident that our reputation as a global hub for SMR expertise will only grow stronger from here. With job creators looking for affordable, reliable, and clean energy, SMRs will enhance our clean energy advantage and help us secure new investments that will create jobs across our province.”
Mike Holland, New Brunswick’s minister of natural resources and energy development, said, “New Brunswick has a long history as a Canadian leader in the energy sector. Nuclear energy has been a key component of the New Brunswick energy landscape for almost four decades, and it is well understood the role it plays in reaching net-zero emissions. It is encouraging to see the private sector get behind these initiatives to help position New Brunswick as a leader in advanced nuclear and clean energy development.”
Don Morgan, Saskatchewan’s minister responsible for SaskPower, noted,“SaskPower has worked closely with Ontario Power Generation, New Brunswick Power, and Bruce Power to advance the pan-Canadian deployment of SMR technologies to the benefit of all regions of the country. In particular, SaskPower’s four-year collaboration with OPG to assess SMR designs for fleet-based deployment in both Ontario and Saskatchewan has laid a strong foundation for nuclear power and to support deep reductions in Canada’s GHG emissions to ultimately achieve net zero by 2050.”
Sonya Savage, Alberta’s minister of energy, added, “Alberta is committed to responsible and innovative energy development. There is great potential for SMRs to provide zero-emission energy for industrial operations in remote areas and to further reduce emissions from Alberta’s oil sands. This strategic plan marks another important step forward to determine how to best manage and regulate this innovative technology by working with our provincial partners and federal regulators.”