FREDERICTON (GNB) – A strategic plan on the use of small modular reactors (SMRs) was released today by the governments of New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

A Strategic Plan for the Deployment of Small Modular Reactors highlights how SMRs could provide safe, reliable and zero-emissions energy to power the Canadian economy and create new opportunities to export Canadian knowledge and expertise around the world.

"New Brunswick has a long history as a Canadian leader in the energy sector," said Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland. "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. It is encouraging to see the private sector get behind these initiatives to help position New Brunswick as a leader in advanced nuclear and clean energy development. 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."

New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan have been working together since December 2019 to advance SMRs in Canada through a memorandum of understanding, which Alberta joined in April 2021.

This report builds on the provincial power utilities’ SMR feasibility study, 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.

The report identifies five priority areas for SMR development and deployment:

  • Positioning Canada as a global SMR technology hub by propelling three separate streams of SMR development, covering both on-grid and off-grid applications.
  • Promoting a solid nuclear regulatory framework that focuses on the health and safety of the public and the environment while ensuring reasonable costs and timelines.
  • Securing federal government commitments on financial and policy support for new SMR technologies that could lead to vast economic benefits across the country and help meet emissions reduction targets.
  • Creating opportunities for participation from Indigenous communities and public engagement.
  • Working with the federal government and nuclear operators on a robust nuclear waste management plan for SMRs.

“I look forward to continued co-operation 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 Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith. “We know the world is watching us when it comes to SMRs and I am 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.”

“SaskPower has worked closely with Ontario Power Generation, New Brunswick Power and Bruce Power to advance the pan-Canadian deployment of SMR technologies to the benefit of all regions of the country,” said Don Morgan, minister responsible for SaskPower. “In particular, SaskPower’s four-year collaboration with OPG to assess SMR designs for fleet-based deployment in both Ontario and Saskatchewan has laid a strong foundation for nuclear power and to support deep reductions in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions to ultimately achieve net zero by 2050.”

“Alberta is committed to responsible and innovative energy development,” said Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage. “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. This strategic plan marks another important step forward to determine how to best manage and regulate this innovative technology by working with our provincial partners and federal regulators. Should private industry determine to pursue the development of SMRs here, it would offer yet another chapter in Alberta’s ongoing history of responsible energy development and innovation.”

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.

ARC Clean Energy and Moltex Energy are building fourth-generation reactors at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station.

ARC Clean Energy is developing an advanced Generation IV SMR, the ARC-100, a 100 MW liquid sodium-cooled fast reactor which is expected to be operational by 2029. The reactor is based on the technology of the EBR-II fast-reactor at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, which operated for 30 years.

Moltex Energy is developing a 300 MW Stable Salt Reactor-Wasteburner. It is also developing technology to recycle used CANDU fuel at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station, lowering the amount of nuclear waste that will need long-term storage. Both the reactor and spent fuel recovery system are expected to be operational by the early 2030s.