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article imageCanada's new 'Small Modular Reactor' action plan released

By Karen Graham     Dec 20, 2020 in Technology
Ottawa - Nuclear power is essential to meeting Canada's climate-change goals, and developing portable mini nuclear reactors is a key part of that strategy, the federal energy minister, Seamus O'Regan said when unveiling the nation's new SMR action plan.
On Friday, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Seamus O'Regan, released a national SMR Action Plan that calls for the development, demonstration, and deployment of "mini" nuclear reactors (SMRs).
"I believe in the development of this technology," O'Regan said from St. John's, N.L. "You've got to lay the groundwork for that now." O'Regan pointed out the broad range of benefits the technology has for Canada: economic, geopolitical, social, and environmental.
Canada has been a leader in nuclear technology for the past 78 years. The Canadian nuclear research facility in Deep River, Renfrew County, Ontario near Chalk River is a prime example of Canada's long interest in developing nuclear technology.
This site is home to Canadian National Laboratories. The facility opened in 1944, and by 1945, the first nuclear reactor outside of the United States become operational at the Chalk River site.
This image is excerpted from a U.S. GAO report showingn the basic functionong of a small modular rea...
This image is excerpted from a U.S. GAO report showingn the basic functionong of a small modular reactor (SMR).
U.S. Government Accountability Office
Canada's roadmap for the action plan
In August 2017, Canadian National Laboratories continuing to go forward with research and development sent out a request for expressions of interest in small modular reactors (SMRs).
Because of the number of organizations that had responded to the CNL's request for expressions of interest - the federal government's SMR action plan came to fruition in 2018.
The plan is using a "Team Canada" partnership approach that includes provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous peoples, organized labor, utilities, industry, innovators, academia, and civil society.
The plan has four concrete actions that will be employed. They include:
1. ensure robust policy, regulatory and legislative frameworks are in place to protect people and the environment;
2. accelerate innovation;
3, continue meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities and all Canadians; and
4. develop international partnerships and open up new markets.
Canada is actually well-positioned to capture a share of the global market in SMRs, expected to be worth between $150 billion and $300 billion a year by 2040, according to CBC Canada.
According to John Gorman, President, and CEO, Canadian Nuclear Association: "The SMR Action Plan strengthens Canada's position as a leader in the development of innovative, zero-emissions nuclear technologies. Small modular reactors are the great enabler of other, clean energy sources. They are uniquely equipped to work alongside renewables to help decarbonize key regions and industries that are challenged to meet emission reduction goals."
More about small modular reactors, Canada, Economic action plan, development and deployment, Climate crisis
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