Small modular reactors in New Brunswick
Understanding the benefits
Research around SMR technology will provide valuable information as we continue to work toward developing a resilient low-carbon economy.
The technology developed here could also lead to future opportunities, including replacement of generation methods that currently produce higher levels of carbon.
New Brunswick is part of the pan-Canadian SMR Action Plan initiative, under the leadership of Natural Resources Canada Nuclear Energy division, so that we can be part of harvesting benefits for our customers — energy security, emission reductions, well-paid jobs, and business growth.
A state-of-the art SMR production program brings countless benefits to New Brunswick as part of the pan-Canadian program to grow the low carbon economy of the future:
Our province will be the hub for supply chain and technical support as the New Brunswick SMR technology is deployed in Canada and internationally. The economic benefits will go beyond New Brunswick and significant positive impact will be felt Canada wide as the technology grows.
The Generation IV Plus Grid sized SMR reduces the amount of nuclear waste generated from their operation as well as the amount of time it needs to be isolated from the environment. The technology being designed in New Brunswick can also reduce the amount of existing used fuel and convert it into a form of clean energy. Learn more about this here.
Refer to the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) for more information about the three types of waste produced by nuclear generating stations.
Canada has a long-standing waste management policy for long-term management and storage of used fuel. Natural Resources Canada initiated an engagement process to review and modernize this existing policy, as well as the development of an integrated radioactive waste management strategy.
ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE
As a non-emitting and reliable source of baseload power, advanced SMR are one more piece, along with existing baseload CANDU-6 nuclear technology as well as hydro, wind and solar to achieve the province’s climate action goals. The Advanced SMR’s ability to build up in increments, to vary in electrical output and integrate with renewables means it can follow the needs of the grid to create exceptional flexibility.
If we are to be successful in addressing climate change and in achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we will need to consider all forms of clean energy, in which nuclear can play an important role. Non-emitting electricity generated from nuclear power can already account for up to 60 per cent of all electricity used in New Brunswick on a given day.
As a low-carbon, electricity source that is easy to bring on and off the grid incrementally as needed, advanced SMR can fill in the gaps caused by the fluctuation in generation levels of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, to ensure electricity is delivered in a predictable way to match supply with demand.
Specifically, Moltex’s SSR produces 300 MW of energy every hour of every day. This energy can be stored as heat and used to generate electricity when renewables are offline, generating 600 MW for 12 hours a day or 900 MW for eight hours a day. This partnership can enable a 100% clean energy grid.
Due to the flexibility and versatility of the ARC-100 design, the reactor can ramp up and down its power in the order of minutes, allowing the reactor to successfully meet the grids energy needs and to support intermittent wind and solar generation.
AFFORDABILITY AND GREATER FLEXIBILITY
They are small, scalable nuclear reactors that offer the flexibility to build only as much supply as demand warrants. Yet, they keep the option available for added power in quick construction timelines, if the province’s electricity needs grow with its economy. They allow for affordable capital projects that can be as small, or as big, as needed with shorter timelines and less upfront capital commitment.
As there are many changes in the energy sector, and pressures related to climate change and reducing our carbon footprint, it is imperative that NB Power shows leadership and innovation in finding new sources of energy for our future needs. New Brunswick is well positioned to benefit from the opportunities thanks to the know-how of our people and the tremendous asset we have in Point Lepreau. Learn more here.
Canada’s nuclear industry is well positioned to become a leader in the world’s supply of advanced SMR. Since 2018, Natural Resources Canada has convened a roadmap to engage stakeholders on the future of SMR in Canada. Following this, in 2020, NRCAN launched Canada’s SMR Action Plan.