Canada is planning the deployment of several new Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) to be included in its energy mix. The governments of Canadian provinces Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta have released a joint strategic plan setting out a path for developing and deploying SMRs.
These will be the first nuclear power sites in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The provinces have been working together to advance SMRs in Canada under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by all four. The signees have issued a report called "A Strategic Plan for the Deployment of Small Modular Reactors".
Four Canadian provinces have joined their efforts to issue a strategic plan for the deployment of Small Modular Reactors in their territories
A SMR Feasibility Study conducted in 2021 concluded that SMR development would support domestic energy needs, reduce greenhouse emissions and position Canada as a global leader in clean technologies and the fight against climate change. The strategic plan identifies the five priority areas for SMR development and deployment:
- Positioning Canada as an exporter of global SMR technology.
- Promoting a strong nuclear regulatory framework.
- Securing federal government commitment on financial and policy support for new SMR technologies.
- Creating opportunities for participation from Indigenous communities.
- Working with the federal government and nuclear operators on a robust nuclear waste management plan for SMRs.
The plan envisages three separate streams of SMR technology:
- A 300 MWe SMR to be constructed at the Darlington nuclear power plant in Ontario by 2028, followed by units in Saskatchewan, with the first unit projected to be in service in 2034. Propietary company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will work with GE-Hitachi as developer.
- Two fourth-generation advanced SMRs to be developed at the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant in New Brunswick. The owner, ARC Clean Energy, plans to deploy an ARC-100 advanced sodium-cooled fast neutron SMR by 2029. Moltex Energy plans to have a used fuel recovery system as well as a Stable Salt Reactor in operation by the early 2030, at the same site.
- A new class of micro-SMRs designed to replace diesel in remote communities and mines. Global First Power proposes to build a 5 MW micro SMR at the Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario, by 2026.
The plan for the deployment of SMR technology in the Canadian provinces includes three different streams of SMR technologies
Todd Smith, Ontario Minister of Energy, expressed his optimism, adding that SMRs will enhance Canada's clean energy advantage and help secure new investments that will create jobs across the province.
Sonya Savage, Alberta Minister of Energy, said there is "great potential" for SMRs to provide zero-emission energy for industrial operations in remote areas and to further reduce emissions from the province's oil sands.
Canada has today 19 nuclear reactors in operation than in 2020 produced 14.6% of the electricty.