Ottawa announces $74M for small modular reactor development in Saskatchewan
Federal Government’s Investment in Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)
The federal government has announced a major investment in the development of small modular reactors (SMRs) in Saskatchewan, a province that relies heavily on fossil fuels for its electricity generation. The funding will support the research, innovation and deployment of SMRs, which are seen as a promising option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and providing reliable and affordable power.
What Are SMRs and Why Are They Important?
SMRs are small nuclear reactors that generate between 10 and 300 megawatts of electricity, much less than the average 700 megawatts of Canada’s flagship CANDU reactors. SMRs are also modular, meaning that they can be built in factories and transported to remote locations, where they can be connected to form larger power plants.
SMRs are considered to be a key technology for Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy, as they can provide clean, non-emitting energy for various applications, such as grid-scale electricity generation, heavy industry, mining and remote communities. SMRs can also complement other renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, by providing backup power when needed.
Canada is a world leader in nuclear technology and has a strong potential to become a global leader in SMR development and deployment. Canada has a diverse and innovative SMR industry, with over 100 companies involved in various aspects of SMR design, manufacturing, supply chain and services. Canada also has a supportive regulatory framework, a collaborative research network and a skilled workforce for SMR development.
How Will the Federal Funding Support SMR Development in Saskatchewan?
The federal government has approved up to $74 million in funding for SMR development in Saskatchewan, as part of its Enabling Small Modular Reactors Program. The program aims to promote the safe and commercial development of SMRs in Canada and abroad.
The funding will support two projects led by the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan. The first project is the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI), which will provide access to research reactors and laboratories for SMR developers to test and demonstrate their technologies. The second project is the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) Centre for Small Modular Reactor Development, which will establish a hub for SMR innovation and collaboration in Saskatchewan.
The federal funding will also leverage additional investments from provincial governments, utilities, industry partners and other stakeholders. The projects are expected to create jobs, stimulate economic growth and foster innovation in Saskatchewan and across Canada.
The federal minister of natural resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced the funding on Saturday in Saskatoon. He said that the funding will help Canada achieve its climate goals and provide clean energy options for Canadians. He also said that Canada is working with provinces, territories, Indigenous groups and other partners to enable the deployment of SMRs in Canada.
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