The Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan have agreed to collaborate on the development and deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed yesterday in Toronto.L-R: Ford, Higgs and Moe with the newly signed MoU (Image: @fordnation)
"Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick agreed today to work together to explore new, cutting-edge technology in nuclear power generation to provide carbon-free, affordable, reliable, and safe energy, while helping us unlock economic potential across Canada, including rural and remote regions," Ontario Premier Doug Ford, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said.
"SMRs could generate clean and low-cost energy for both on-grid and off-grid communities, connect more remote and rural areas of our province, and benefit energy-intensive industries, including the mining and manufacturing sectors. It could also drive economic growth and export opportunities as these technologies are further adopted across the country and around the world," they added.
Under the non-binding MoU, the three parties commit to work co-operatively to: advance the development and deployment of SMRs to address the needs of their provinces with regards to addressing climate change, regional energy demand, economic development and research and innovation opportunities; and address key issues for SMR deployment including technological readiness, regulatory frameworks, economics and financing, nuclear waste management and public and Indigenous engagement.
They also commit to work together to positively influence the federal government to: provide a "clear unambiguous statement that nuclear energy is a clean technology and is required as part of the climate change solution"; provide support for SMRs identified in the Canadian SMR Roadmap; and to "make changes as necessary" to facilitate the introduction of SMRs. The MoU also includes commitments from the provinces to work together to inform the public about the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear energy and SMRs; and to engage with "other interested provinces and territories" to explore the potential for SMR deployment.
Ontario-based Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in April 2018 launched an invitation for SMR project proponents to evaluate the construction and operation of a demonstration unit at one of its sites. Canada's federal Department of Natural Resources in November 2018 issued a roadmap for the development of SMRs in the country, while Saskatchewan's roadmap for growth, published in November, included goals to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation and to develop SMR technology with the possibility of a first operational SMR in the province by the middle of the 2030s. The government of New Brunswick is supporting the development of a nuclear research and development cluster in the province.