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December 03, 2021

CNL congratulates OPG on continued progress towards new nuclear in Ontario

Photo caption: GE Hitachi – Conceptual rendering of a BWRX-300 power plant design.

CNL is pleased to congratulate OPG on their selection of a vendor for the construction of a new grid-scale small modular reactor (SMR) for the Darlington site: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy.

This announcement is another positive step forward for nuclear energy in Ontario, in Canada and around the globe, and is indicative of the momentum which continues to build around new nuclear.  As countries redouble their efforts to combat climate change and set increasingly ambitious emissions targets, it has become even more clear that there is no path to “net zero” without nuclear.

As Canada’s national nuclear laboratory, CNL fully supports this project and stands ready to help advance what is poised to be the first new nuclear reactor serving Ontario’s electricity grid in a generation.

From the advent of the first CANDU reactor in Pickering back in 1971 through to this most recent announcement of a next-generation reactor on the horizon, our team has the experience, capabilities and skill-set to support Ontario’s nuclear fleet throughout every phase of the plants’ life cycle.  The selected technology, the BWRX-300, is based on a well-established and demonstrated boiling water reactor (BWR) design with enhancements in many areas.  While our experience was built on heavy-water technology, recent investments position CNL to address the expected needs of BWR technology as well.

We have advanced capabilities in post-irradiation examination for a range of reactor technologies; and, we are breaking ground on the construction of the Advanced Nuclear Materials Research Centre (ANMRC), a new world-class facility which is being designed from the ground up to accommodate the nuclear S&T needs of the current and future fleet, providing the science to help inform their decision-making from construction through to operation and ultimately decommissioning.

In terms of CNL’s broader SMR portfolio of work, it is our announced vision to serve as a global hub for this technology, regardless of design. Canada’s SMR Roadmap identifies three streams for the SMR industry:  Stream 1 or “grid sized” reactors intended to replace coal or gas plants; Stream 2, which are larger units >50 MWe) which serve heavy industrial needs; and, Stream 3, which are the smallest size, and intended for remote communities and other smaller off-grid applications. Here at the Chalk River site, the proposed project from Global First Power at 5MWe, falls into Stream 3.  The project in Darlington is Stream 1 at 300 MWe.  The two projects are complementary and it is great to see them both well underway.

In closing, once again I want to congratulate OPG and GE-Hitachi on today’s exciting announcement, and I look forward to a net-zero future anchored in clean nuclear technology.

Jeff Griffin
Vice-President, Science & Technology

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