Four Canadian Provinces Band Together on SMRs

Four provincial Canadian governments – Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta – said Tuesday they had agreed to a joint strategic plan that would promote development of small modular reactors(SMR).

SMRThe Strategic Plan for the Development of Small Modular Reactors highlights how SMRs can provide safe, reliable and zero-emissions energy to power our growing economy and population, while creating new opportunities to export Canadian knowledge and expertise around the world, a statement from Regina said.

The report identifies five key priority areas for SMR development and deployment, including positioning Canada as an exporter of global SMR technology, promoting a strong nuclear regulatory framework, creating opportunities for participation from Indigenous communities and public engagement and working with the federal government and nuclear operators on a robust nuclear waste management plan for SMRs.

Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have been working together since late 2019 to advance SMRs in Canada through an inter-provincial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Alberta signed onto the MOU in April 2021.

This report builds on the provincial power utilities’ SMR Feasibility Study, which was requested by the provinces. That 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.

“I look forward to continued cooperation through our joint strategic plan as we make progress towards Canada’s first on-grid and off-grid SMR, both planned to be built in Ontario,” said Todd Smith, Ontario Minister of Energy.

"We know the world is watching us,” he said. “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,” Smith said.

"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,” said Mike Holland, New Brunswick Minister of Natural Resources and 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,” said Sonya Savage, Alberta’s Minister of Energy.

SMRs are scalable and versatile nuclear reactors that typically produce 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity or less. They can support large established grids, small grids, remote off-grid communities and resource projects.

One 300 MW SMR could generate enough clean electricity each year to power 300,000 homes.

Global First Power, a joint venture between Ontario Power Generation and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, is proposing to build a 5 MW micro-SMR project at the federally owned Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario. The project is intended to demonstrate feasibility for off- grid applications, such as remote mines.

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