Canada begins SMR strategy roadmap

Canada has launched a process to prepare a roadmap to explore the potential of on- and off-grid applications for small modular reactor (SMR) technology. The roadmap will help position Canada to become a global leader in the emerging SMR market, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

The road mapping process, which is part of NRCan’s Energy Innovation Program, was announced on 22 February by Parliamentary Secretary Kim Rudd on behalf of Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr. Driven by interested provincial and territorial governments and energy utilities, the exercise will be delivered by the Canadian Nuclear Association. It will engage stakeholders to better understand their views on priorities and challenges related to the possible development and deployment of SMRs in Canada.

Participation in the roadmap will eventually expand to include all “essential enabling partners” including manufacturers, researchers, waste management organizations and the national nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

According to NRCan, the roadmap aims to foster innovation and establish a long-term vision for the industry, as well as to assess the characteristics of different SMR technologies and their alignment with Canadian requirements and priorities.

“Through the Generation Energy dialogue, we heard that a pan-Canadian approach is needed on nuclear energy to help guide important decisions by private and public leaders,” Rudd said, referring to 2017’s national dialogue on Canada’s energy future, to which over 380,000 Canadians contributed. “We are bringing this approach to the SMR roadmap, working with key stakeholders to better understand their views on how we can develop and deploy this emerging technology,” she said.

National nuclear science and technology organization Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) last year set a goal of siting a new SMR on its Chalk River site by 2026, receiving 19 expressions of interest in siting a prototype or demonstration SMR at a CNL site. Canadian company Terrestrial Energy in June last year began a feasibility study for the siting of the first commercial Integrated Molten Salt Reactor at Chalk River.

The CNSC is currently involved in pre-licensing vendor design reviews – an optional service to assess of a nuclear power plant design based on a vendor’s reactor technology – for ten small reactors with capacities in the range of 3-300 MWe. It received its most recent VDR applications – for NuScale Power’s self-contained 50 MWe integral pressurized water reactor and Westinghouse’s eVinci microreactor – earlier this month.

The roadmap is expected to be completed in the autumn.


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