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Siting Canada’s First SMR

Siting Canada’s First SMR

In these interesting times, scientific discovery and the advancement of knowledge is even more relevant to our future prosperity. It is through the search for scientific answers that we will find the solutions to some of our most pressing challenges.

Addressing the global need for clean energy is one such challenge and we know the answer could be right around the corner – small modular reactors (SMR). Our vision is to serve the world as a global hub for SMR research and technology. This includes the siting of a demonstration unit built on a CNL managed site. Through the provision of research and development and other supporting services, we are doing our part to advance this clean energy technology closer towards deployment.

In 2018, CNL moved forward with announcing a staged invitation process for those vendors interested in siting their demonstration unit. The invitation and evaluations are conducted entirely independently of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s licencing processes; all projects are subject to regulatory requirements.

CNL’s invitation process is comprised of four distinct stages. In Stages 1 and 2 (Prequalification and Due Diligence), CNL will evaluate with increased rigour, the technical and business merits of the proposed designs, assess the financial viability of the projects, and review the necessary national security and integrity requirements. Stage 3 includes preliminary, non-exclusive discussions regarding land arrangements, project risk management, and contractual terms. The fourth and final stage, Project Execution, would include construction, testing and commissioning, operation and ultimately decommissioning of the SMR unit.

Current Status:

At present, there are four project proponents engaged in various stages of the invitation process:

  • Competed Phase 1: U-Battery Canada Ltd.’s proposed SMR design is a 4 MWe high temperature gas reactor.
  • Completed Phase 1: StarCore Nuclear’s proposed SMR design is a 14 MWe high-temperature gas reactor.
  • Completed Phase 1: Terrestrial Energy’s proposed SMR design is a 190 MWe integral molten salt reactor.
  • Entered Stage 3: Global First Power’s proposed SMR design is a 5 MWe high-temperature gas reactor.

Global First Power has begun the licencing process and an Environmental Assessment for a demonstration reactor at the Chalk River campus in presently underway.

It is important to note that all projects are subject to regulatory processes and requirements. The licensing process is entirely independent of CNL’s invitation and evaluation stages. Should a project advance to a licence application, proponents will be required to undertake meaningful project engagement with the public and Indigenous communities. In the meantime, AECL and CNL continue to engage local and Indigenous communities to seek their views and input.


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