April 14, 2021

Small Nuclear Reactor Study Released, Alberta Signs SMR MOU

Study Highlights Opportunities and Advantages of New Technology

Today, the Premiers of New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta joined virtually to release a study by power utilities in three partner provinces and to formally welcome Alberta as a signatory to the small modular reactor (SMR) memorandum of understanding (MOU) previously signed by New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan.

With the addition of Alberta to the MOU, all provinces involved have agreed to collaborate on the advancement of SMRs as a clean energy option to address climate change and regional energy demands, while supporting economic growth and innovation.

The SMR Feasibility Study, formally requested as part of the MOU in December 2019, concludes that the development of SMRs would support domestic energy needs, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and position Canada as a global leader in this emerging technology.  SMRs are nuclear reactors that produce 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity or less.  They can support large established grids, small grids, remote off-grid communities and resource projects.

The study, conducted by Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, NB Power and SaskPower, identifies three streams of SMR project proposals for consideration by the governments of Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.

Stream 1 proposes a first grid-scale SMR project of approximately 300 MW constructed at the Darlington nuclear site in Ontario by 2028.  Subsequent units in Saskatchewan would follow, with the first SMR projected to be in service in 2032.

Stream 2 involves two 4th generation, advanced small modular reactors that would be developed in New Brunswick through the construction of demonstration units at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station.   By fostering collaboration among the various research, manufacturing, federal and provincial agencies, an initial ARC Clean Energy demonstration unit plans to be ready by 2030.  Moltex Energy Inc.'s waste recycling facility and reactor is preparing to be ready by the early 2030s.  Through ongoing support and collaborations, these advanced technologies could start being deployed as early as 2030 in support of the industrial needs in areas like Saskatchewan and Alberta, and indeed around the globe.

Stream 3 proposes a new class of micro-SMRs designed primarily to replace the use of diesel in remote communities and mines.  A five MW gas-cooled demonstration project is under way at Chalk River, Ontario, with plans to be in service by 2026.

The report identifies the potential for all three streams to create employment and economic growth benefits for Canada, as well as opportunities to export technology and expertise to address global issues such as climate change and energy reliability.

The next action identified in the MOU is development of a joint strategic plan, to be drafted in collaboration by the governments of Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta.  The plan is expected to be completed in the spring of 2021.

The partner provinces will continue to work together and across the nuclear industry, to help ensure Canada remains at the forefront of nuclear innovation, while creating new opportunities for jobs, economic growth, innovation and a lower-carbon future.


"Our government believes the best way to ensure that Canada becomes a leader in Advanced Small Modular Reactor development and deployment is through continued engagement and partnerships," said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.  "New Brunswick has already attracted two tremendous vendors in ARC Clean Energy Canada and Moltex Energy who are now developing their capacity and generating local economic development in the province.  New Brunswick is well positioned to be a world leader in the SMR field."

"It is important that our provinces take these next steps together to continue leading the development of cutting-edge Small Modular Reactors for the benefit of future generations," said Premier Doug Ford.  "Ontario is home to a world-class nuclear industry, which we will leverage as we continue our critical work on this innovative technology in order to provide affordable, reliable, safe and clean energy while unlocking tremendous economic potential across the country."

"Today's announcement confirms the commitment of our provinces to advancing SMRs as a clean energy option, leveraging the strength and knowledge of each of our jurisdictions," said Premier Scott Moe.  "This study confirms the feasibility of small modular reactors in Canada and outlines a path forward to deploy this new clean, safe, reliable and competitively priced power.  This new technology will help attract investment, create high-skilled jobs and contribute to our growing economy."

"Alberta has always been committed to clean, affordable energy," said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.  "SMRs are an exciting step forward in ensuing that Albertans and Canadians across our country continue to have reliable access to the energy we need to power our homes and our economy.  SMRs also allow our province to continue to create new jobs through diversifying our economy by utilizing new and cutting-edge technologies."