Canada forges ahead with nuclear small modular reactor action plan

SMR plant cutaway courtesy NuScale.

Canada is stepping full-square into advancing small modular reactor technologies in the near future.

Noting carbon-free nuclear’s role in future emissions reduction goals, Natural Resources Canada announced its action plan which would facilitate teamwork including governmental, provincial, indigenous, local, power utilities, industrial, research laboratories and more in making more affordable, smaller footprint nuclear energy possible.

“Small modular reactors (SMRs) could be a source of clean, safe and affordable energy, opening opportunities for a resilient, low-carbon future and capturing benefits for Canada and Canadians while supporting reconciliation with Indigenous peoples as essential enabling partners,” reads the statement of principle in the national action plan.

“Markets around the globe are signaling a need for smaller, simpler, and cheaper nuclear energy. At the same time, international experts are telling us that new nuclear energy, together with the full range of low-carbon technologies, are needed to combat global climate change and meet federal, provincial and territorial emissions targets for 2030 and 2050,” the statement reads. “That’s why we’re working together to enable nuclear energy – especially SMRs – to play a key role in Canada and the world’s low-carbon future.”

The document names dozens of partners from across the nation. Among the common goals including engaging with international partners to create export opportunities, investment, SMR integration with renewables and energy storage, minimizing nuclear waste and foster greater inclusion in the industry workforce for women, minorities and Indigenous people.

SMR developers such as U.S.-based NuScale Power commended the Canadian government and Department of Natural Resources on release of the SMR Action Plan. NuScale has received final U.S. regulatory approval for its design and is in a pre-licensing vendor design review process

“NuScale’s advanced technology is ready to support the Canadian market,” the company statement read. “This will aid in the job creation, intellectual property and supply chains in Canada that the SMR Action Plan prioritizes.”

Canada currently has close to 20 commercial reactors generating about 13 GW in capacity, dominated by its home-grown CANDU design. Nuclear power accounts for about 60 percent of the electricity generated in Ontario.

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