Small Modular Reactor Technology

About Small Modular Reactors:

Given the growing desire for clean, safe, low- carbon energy sources, there is growing interest in small or very small modular reactors (SMR). 

While technologies vary, SMRs range in physical size and electrical output, making them suitable for applications which require a small footprint or a relatively small amount of power. They are designed to be purchased and constructed in a modular method, meaning that additional units could be added as needs change in time. This modular approach also drives down costs through volume manufacturing, which in turn helps reduce the risk for investors. It is worth noting that the definition of SMR includes designs which vary in electrical output from as high as 300 MW for grid-connected reactors, down to 3 MW which could be best suited for remote or industrial applications. 

Much more than simply electricity generation, SMRs can be part of an overall energy scheme that includes district heating, co-generation, energy storage, desalination, and hydrogen production among others. These traits are particularly attractive to remote off-grid applications in northern communities or industrial sites, such as mines, where consistent, reliable and low carbon, clean energy is needed. 

Canada is uniquely positioned to benefit from small modular reactor deployment. With more than 250 remote communities in Canada`s north, and the growth in extractive industries CNL believes that the time is right for this technology. Given the high cost and challenging logistics for fuel transportation to some of these isolated locations, an SMR is not only though to be cost-competitive but also more reliable and with a far smaller environmental footprint.

Related Links:

World Nuclear Association
UN International Atomic Energy Agency
Canadian Nuclear Association: SMR
Ontario Ministry of Energy Study: SMR Feasibility Study

Making the vision of small modular reactor (SMR) deployment a reality

CNL provides a full spectrum of technical expertise and R&D facilities at our secure and licensed site, where we have designed, licensed, and constructed prototype reactors for over 50 years. We offer on-site capabilities in all areas of reactor design, from fuels and reactor internals through thermodynamics and materials science. Our team will steadily remove technical, regulatory, and economic barriers, allowing you to progress your SMR from concept to prototype—and beyond.

Solutions for SMR developers

Test site for SMR prototypes

Providing a licensed nuclear site on which several nuclear reactors have been built and operated.

Regulatory, safety, security, utility service and scientific infrastructure already in place to enable the timely licensing, construction and testing of advanced nuclear reactor prototypes.

Reactor physics modeling and testing

Modeling the behaviour of reactor cores and validating the models in a low-power reactor.

The ZED-2 core can be arranged into a wide range of configurations to validate reactor core models with empirical data.

Thermalhydraulic modeling and testing

Modeling and testing the thermalhydraulic behaviour of nuclear fuel and nuclear power plants. This includes the primary and secondary coolant systems.

Fuel fabrication, testing and analysis

Designing, fabricating and assembling a wide range of uranium, plutonium and thorium-bearing fuels, including oxides, carbides, nitrides, and metallic/metal matrix.

Investigating and validating fuel performance and degradation using post-irradiation examination.

CNL is currently developing the capability to measure thermophysical and thermodynamic properties of molten and liquid fuels.

Reactor component degradation testing, modeling and analysis

Modelling and testing a wide range of component degradation phenomena including corrosion, erosion, fouling, fretting, vibrations, and hydride formation.

Safety & Licensing

License planning and test program development.

Modeling and simulation of accident scenarios.

Irradiation program preparation and execution

Planning irradiation programs, preparing samples to be irradiated, and executing irradiation on-and off-site.

Post-irradiation examination (PIE)

Fuel and material sample preparation and handling in our dedicated hot cell facilities.

Providing a full suite of measurements, mechanical tests, surface analyses and other examinations on highly irradiated materials. Our analytical services identify where materials are likely to fail and what measures can be taken to predict and prevent such failures.

CNL delivers value

Lower project development risk. Our secure site and facilities have all of the regulatory, safety, security, utility service and scientific infrastructure in place to enable the timely licensing, construction and testing of advanced nuclear reactor prototypes.

Overcome technical challenges from concept through deployment. Our highly trained staff have all of the capabilities required to support the development of SMRs, including, licensing, fuel fabrication, irradiation, post-irradiation examination, and advanced tool development.

  • Comprehensive nuclear R&D capabilities
  • Library of test and modelling data
  • Expertise developed over 60 years of reactor and fuel development

For more information, please contact us directly. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how CNL can address your requirements.

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