Canada Will Demo, Deploy and Lead in SMR Nuclear Fission Reactors

Canada has one of the world’s most promising domestic markets for SMRs (Small Modular Reactors – nuclear fission). Conservative estimates place the potential value for SMRs in Canada at $5.3B between 2025 and 2040. Globally, the SMR market is much bigger, with a conservative estimated value of $150B between 2025 and 2040. This represents a large potential export market for Canada, which has already exported nuclear reactor technology to six other countries.

Canada has what is needed to seize this opportunity: a ramped-up supply chain leveraging the Province of Ontario’s $26 billion investment in nuclear reactor refurbishments; leadership in nuclear science and technology—bolstered by a federal investment of $1.2 billion in infrastructure at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and investments by New Brunswick to establish an SMR nuclear research cluster; and a regulatory approach that is open to innovation.

Three next steps for turning the Roadmap into action:
Step 1. Essential enablers to take early action on priority recommendations.
Step 2. Team Canada to respond to comprehensive recommendations with commitments for further concrete action in a Canadian SMR Action Plan.
Step 3. Industry and governments to co-create Canada’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Council consisting of senior executives and Ministers to review progress annually and discuss ongoing strategic priorities for the future.

This Roadmap is not the end of the road, it is the beginning. It is a call to action for Canada.

Nuclear energy currently provides 15% of Canada’s electricity supply (approximately 60% in Ontario and 33% in New Brunswick) and avoids over 50 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year in Canada—that’s equal to nearly a quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction
target under the Paris Agreement. Canada is the second largest producer of uranium in the world, and our exports avoid over 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions the world over.

The International Energy Agency projects that nuclear energy will need to double globally within 20 years to meet a 2-degree Celsius climate target.

The United States has established a program to support SMR development, providing $755 million since 2012, including $336 million to a single developer. This funding has been granted incrementally, with more to come. The current Administration’s support for nuclear energy shows, with a 20% increase in the US Department of Energy’s (DoE) nuclear budget.

The United Kingdom has previously announced an envelope of $423 million over five years for development of SMR technologies. In the past year, the UK has announced approximately $150
million for research and development for advanced SMR technologies.

China has nearly completed its first SMR, a high-temperature gas reactor, and is designing other advanced SMRs, such as a molten salt reactor and a floating SMR.

Russia has just completed a floating barge SMR to access remote locations, and Russia’s state- owned nuclear company, Rosatom, claims to have an international order backlog exceeding $170 billion.

Korea has designed an SMR for the export market, with Saudi Arabia already signing a purchase agreement with Korean firm KAERI.

Argentina is nearing completion of a 25 MWe prototype.

15 thoughts on “Canada Will Demo, Deploy and Lead in SMR Nuclear Fission Reactors”

  1. you know I was thinking about this and there is a quick workaround for the NRC’s absolute bureaucratic, parasitic, gridlock. Simply allow for reactors that are licensed in Canada to be available in the US.

    With one fell swoop, you’d get rid of the monopoly that the NRC has to throttle new nuclear technologies and accelerate nuclear adption in both countries.

  2. Pipeline networks certainly aren’t free, but if you can transport natural gas at $1 per mmbtu it is potentially affordable (CH4 is 16 molar mass but CO2 is 44, so more CO2 can be sent with a similar size pipe) but really ONLY if there’s a carbon equiv price to cover it. In the US for example there are coordinated attempts to actually prop up coal use so not remotely there politically.

  3. Saskatchewan power sells it to oil companies and they use it to inject into producing wells.that helps free up oil and disposes of the gas sequestering underground

  4. Yes in socialism you can dictate the prices, although it is usually a bad idea. Like the disastrous feed-in-tariffs Ontario massively overpaid for wind power when they should have held auctions.

    EDIT: Real discount rate for Canada was 8% in 2007. Governments need to use this rate when calculating projects, because otherwise it will result in a incorrect allocation of capital. A tax cut would have a better result due to its better rate of return.

  5. Recent wind auction prices in Canada in 2017& 2018. $35/MWh Saskatchewan ($42/MWh including transmission costs), $37-39/MWh Alberta. New Brunswick $37/MWh for 2019.
    Yet this report has wind at $90-100/MWh…..
    It is easy to make nuclear look relatively better if you grab the wind and solar project data from the last 15 years and average it. Not so much if you cut out the BS and use the most recent data.

  6. Currently the cost of 30 year capital in Canada for public power is a nominal 3% and has been for years.

  7. That number for carbon capture is likely a projection based on Saskpower’s Boundary Dam project. A new Allam Cycle project would be a lot cheaper than that.

  8. The heating for oil sands is done using natural gas. Cheap natural gas is the barrier that must be overcome by nukes.

  9. Hmmm. This decade will be different, eh? Been hearing the nuclear assisted oil sands extraction BS for 10+ years now.

    Any of it could have been done decades ago. What is the forcing function that will get it done now? Is it the ample supply of North American petroleum? Oh, wait…

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