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February 15, 2019

Update on CNL’s SMR invitation process

Technology developers advance in CNL’s process to site a small modular reactor

(February 15, 2019) Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, is pleased to provide an update regarding the organization’s invitation to site a small modular reactor (SMR) demonstration unit at one of their managed campuses.

Two respondents, Starcore Nuclear and Terrestrial Energy have successfully completed the pre-qualification stage of CNL’s invitation, and have been invited to enter the Due Diligence stage.  In these stages, 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.

StarCore Nuclear’s proposed SMR design is a 14 MWe high-temperature gas reactor. StarCore is proposing to build reactors at both the Whiteshell and Chalk River sites. Additional details can be found at

Terrestrial Energy’s proposed SMR design is a 195 MWe integral molten salt reactor. Additional details can be found at

Global First Power (GFP) with its key partners Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) has progressed through the second stage of the invitation process, and has been invited to participate in preliminary, non-exclusive discussions regarding land arrangements, project risk management, and contractual terms (Stage 3). These negotiations are not an indication of project approval, and the proposal and proponent must satisfy further stringent evaluation.

GFP/OPG/USNC Team’s proposed SMR design is a 5 MWe high-temperature gas reactor. Additional details can be found at

The fourth and final stage, Project Execution, would include construction, testing and commissioning, operation and ultimately decommissioning of the SMR unit.

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.


In its 2017 Long Term Strategy, CNL set the ambitious goal of siting an SMR on a CNL-managed site before 2030.  To achieve this, CNL launched a Request for Expressions of Interest to gather input and feedback from stakeholders across Canada and internationally.  CNL received responses from academia, energy utilities, potential end users, host communities, and the nuclear supply chain. Included in those responses were 19 expressions of interest from technology developers interested in building a prototype or demonstration reactor at a CNL site.  Based in part on that strong response, 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.

While deployment of small modular reactors is still several years away, CNL is building its expertise and capabilities to support the development of these technologies, and has launched initiatives that would further explore the full range of applications. The proposed flexibility of operations for these new designs enables a wide range of end uses, including pairing SMRs with intermittent renewable sources such as solar or wind energy to ensure grid reliability.  In addition to electricity production, the energy from an SMR could be used for the production of hydrogen, for local area heating, or in industrial processes which require heat or steam.

For more information on CNL’s vision to serve as a global hub for SMR development, including the siting of a demonstration reactor on a CNL-managed site, visit

For more information on small modular reactor technology, including potential applications, visit

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