Energy & Power
Several provinces agree on the path forward for small modular reactors
By Anthony Capkun
April 20, 2022 – The governments of Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta have agreed to a joint strategic plan outlining the path forward on small modular reactors (SMRs).
“This joint strategic plan represents an exciting step forward in energy innovation, and I look forward to working with our partners across the country to continue this important work,” said Mike Holland, NB Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development.
The plan “A strategic plan for the deployment 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.
DOWNLOAD Strategic Plan Deployment of SMRs (PDF).
“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,” said Todd Smith, Ontario Minister of Energy.
“A strategic plan” identifies five key priority areas for SMR development and deployment:
• Position Canada as an exporter of global SMR technology by propelling three separate streams of SMR development, covering both on-grid and off-grid applications.
• Promote a strong nuclear regulatory framework that focuses on the health and safety of the public and the environment while ensuring reasonable costs and timelines.
• Secure federal government commitments on financial and policy support for new SMR technologies that would lead to economic benefits across the country and help meet emissions reduction targets.
• Create opportunities for participation from Indigenous communities and public engagement.
• Work with the federal government and nuclear operators on a nuclear waste management plan for SMRs.
“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. “This strategic plan marks another important step forward to determine how to best manage and regulate this innovative technology […]”
Since December 2019, Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have been working together to advance SMRs in Canada through an inter-provincial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Alberta joined the MOU in April 2021.
This report builds on the provincial power utilities’ SMR Feasibility Study (requested by the provinces as part of the MOU), which 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.
“SaskPower’s four-year collaboration with [Ontario Power Generation] to assess SMR designs for fleet-based deployment in both Ontario and Saskatchewan has laid a strong foundation for nuclear power and [will] support deep reductions in Canada’s GHG emissions to, ultimately, achieve net zero by 2050,” said Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for SaskPower.
Factory-built SMRs are scalable nuclear reactors that typically produce around 300 MW or less. They can support the grid, remote off-grid communities and resource projects, and can provide stable baseload energy to complement renewable energy sources.