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.