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Facts on CNL’s SMR Program

We thought it best to take a few words to try and clear up some misconceptions and answers some of the questions that have popped up lately.

Canada is a great place to advance SMR technology.

We have a robust, globally-respected regulator that is open to careful consideration of new designs. We have a pressing domestic market need for the technology. We have a supply chain that has maintained its nuclear capabilities through the recent refurbishments. And, we have a great national nuclear laboratory ready to assist!

CNL is not building, designing or selling an SMR.

Yes, we would love to host such a project but we are not in the business of designing and building reactors.  We are presently exploring the process by which we would enable an SMR vendor or developer to use a CNL-managed site. We would work closely with them, with a high likelihood of providing support on a commercial basis every step of the way.

There will be ample opportunity to provide input into any proposed SMR siting.

Discussions and community involvement will come part and parcel with the process.  Regardless of the technology, it is expected that an Environmental Assessment would be undertaken, which would include frequent and ongoing communications with local communities, Indigenous groups, elected officials, local business and economic development agencies, citizen groups and many more. It would also require a licence application and subsequent review processes, which provide additional opportunities for public engagement.

How many reactors are being proposed?

We may see more than one built at CNL.  It is our vision to be a hub for this technology, and as such, it is possible that more than one demonstration unit could be built.

Will these make power? 

Perhaps.  Again, it is very early days and lots of questions need answers, but there remains a possibility for CNL or others to purchase electricity produced by the demonstration unit or units.

This goal is achievable. 

There are lots of different technologies out there, some more advanced than others, and the path to deployment varies for each one of these designs.  We believe in the technology, and believe in the team and capabilities at CNL. Five respondents to the recent SMR Request for Expressions of Interest indicated operation dates for a demonstration SMR before 2026, with another eight anticipating operation between 2026 and 2028.

Will these reactors be used for research projects?

Though some technology developers are considering ways in which research capabilities could be incorporated into their designs, from our perspective these would be considered as an “added bonus” of sorts. While there may be a cost recovery / cost avoidance related to that, research is unlikely to be the principle mission of a demonstration SMR.