Report: SMRs to bring jobs and economic benefits to Ontario

November 7, 2023, 7:00AMNuclear News

This past January, Wilmington, N.C.–based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Canadian firms Ontario Power Generation, SNC-Lavalin, and Aecon signed a contract for the deployment of the American firm’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor at OPG’s Darlington nuclear plant in Clarington, Ontario.

Less than six months later, the Ontario government announced it was working with OPG to begin planning and licensing for the deployment of three additional BWRX-300 units at the site.

This is all very good news for the province, says a recently released report from the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC)—a self-described “nonpartisan” and “objective” applied research organization.

Official words: “Today’s report demonstrates how Ontario’s SMR program will create thousands more highly skilled, good-paying jobs while ensuring we have the reliable, affordable, and clean electricity we need to power the next major international investment, the new homes we are building, and industries as they grow and electrify,” stated Todd Smith, Ontario’s energy minister, in an October 20 OPG release on the report.

Ken Hartwick, the utility’s president and chief executive officer, said that the plan to construct four SMRs at Darlington “will also generate opportunities across Ontario and Canada, as suppliers of nuclear components and services have an opportunity to expand to serve the growing SMR market here and abroad.”

CBoC economic research director Tony Bonen noted that “nuclear energy has been a major source of electricity generation for many years” in Ontario and that “further investing in SMRs has the potential for significant economic benefits in the province.”

Key findings: The construction, operation, and maintenance of four SMRs will have a significant economic impact on the economies of Ontario and Canada, the report finds, including the following:

  • A C$15.3 billion (about $11.2 billion) increase in Canadian GDP over 65 years (in 2019 dollars).
  • 2,000 jobs per year over that time span.
  • C$4.9 billion (about $3.6 billion) in tax revenues accruing to all levels of government over that time span.
  • A C$0.82 (about $0.60) increase in Canadian GDP for each dollar spent across the total lifespan of the technologies.

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