Coming soon: Federal action plan for small modular reactor development
The federal government's action plan for the development of small nuclear reactors is expected to be released this fall. In New Brunswick, ARC Nuclear Canada and Moltex Energy are anticipating federal dollars flowing their way as excitement builds about the potential for the small reactors to help build Canada’s green economy.
The Atlantica Centre for Energy has contributed a chapter as part of the federal SMR Action Plan. The centre is strongly supportive of NRCan supplying funding to support the advanced Generation-4 SMRs being developed in New Brunswick, which brings additional benefits of SMR to Canada and the rest of the world.
In a recent commentary, Norman Sawyer, president and CEO of ARC Nuclear Canada Inc., and Rory O’Sullivan, CEO, North America, for Moltex Energy, pointed to the significant advantages for New Brunswick of SMR development.
The two executives said there are no greenhouse gases during generation, leading to better air quality, less smog and lower asthma rates. They also operate cost-effectively saving homeowners and businesses on their electricity bills. Both reactors are also ideally suited to generate the heat necessary for hydrogen production; a process that currently relies on emission-laden fossil fuels. As well, there is little nuclear waste.
These reactors offer New Brunswick opportunities for economic growth in the emerging clean energy sector. Not only will there be sustainable jobs supporting the construction and operation of these reactors, there will be jobs supplying all the necessary parts and services.
The two main political parties, the Progressive Conservatives and the Liberals, both made it clear during the recent election campaign they support SMR development in the province. The Progressive Conservatives, under Blaine Higgs, won the election and secured a majority government.
New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Ontario signed a memorandum of understanding in December regarding small modular reactors. In a new development, Alberta says it plans to join the three provinces in pursuing the nuclear technology.
Alberta says it likes the fact the units are smaller than traditional nuclear reactors with lower upfront capital costs and enhanced safety features.