The role of small modular reactor technology as clean energy option for Canada’s Arctic region discussed at annual Inuvik conference
Chalk River, ON – June 18, 2021 – Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to announce that its President and CEO, Joe McBrearty, and Vice-President of Science and Technology, Dr. Jeff Griffin discussed the potential for small modular reactor (SMR) technology to offer options for Canada’s Arctic during presentations at the Arctic Development Expo earlier this week. With Canada’s far north experiencing some of the largest impacts of climate change in the world, SMRs have the potential to serve as a safe, cost-effective and reliable source of clean energy in the region.
More versatile than conventional grid-scale reactors, SMRs can be used in ‘off-grid’ locations to power isolated communities and industrial sites, but also provide heat that could be used to warm public housing, commercial spaces or even greenhouses for agriculture. SMRs can also be paired with renewable energy sources in a hybrid energy grid, or used to support industrial applications such as hydrogen production or process heat and steam – important factors in mining and mineral extraction.
“At CNL, we believe that SMRs have the potential to serve as a transformative technology for regions such as Canada’s Arctic, serving as the foundation for environmental, social and economic prosperity,” commented Mr. McBrearty. “There are unique energy challenges faced by northern and Indigenous communities in Canada. Conversations and engagements such as the Arctic Development Expo are helping to start an important dialogue about next-generation reactors as options for the North that could improve the quality of life for people in more isolated regions.”
Mr. McBrearty also discussed economic development opportunities that could be enabled by SMRs in response to climate change, including mining and mineral extraction, as well as data centre hosting – an industry that is being cultivated in other Arctic regions around the world. The presentation also discussed Canadian sovereignty, and the national security applications that SMRs could offer as previously inaccessible regions and transportation routes open up in Canada’s arctic.
CNL is delivering a substantial research program working on answers to many of the key questions related to this clean energy technology, including remote monitoring, cyber security, and hybrid systems. Dr. Griffin’s presentation focused on the work being done by CNL in SMR technology development, including the project currently underway to site a demonstration reactor at the Chalk River Laboratories campus.
Typically held in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, the 2021 Arctic Development Expo was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and seeks to encourage knowledgeable decision-making to enhance circumpolar life and create innovative solutions for northern realities. This year’s conference focused on four themes – natural and renewable resources, climate and energy innovations, Indigenous leadership, and circumpolar governance and knowledge economy.
For more information on CNL’s SMR program, please visit www.cnl.ca/smr.
To information about SMR and the role they can plan in Canada, visit www.smractionplan.ca.
To learn more about the Arctic Development Expo, visit www.arcticdevelopmentexpo.com/.
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is a world leader in nuclear science and technology offering unique capabilities and solutions across a wide range of industries. Actively involved with industry-driven research and development in nuclear, transportation, clean technology, energy, defence, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally.
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Director, Corporate Communications