Canadian collaborations move SMR plans forward

18 November 2020

Advanced Reactor Concepts, New Brunswick Power (NB Power) and Moltex Energy have agreed to set up a small modular reactor (SMR) vendor cluster in New Brunswick. Meanwhile, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has issued a call for proposals for the second round of a programme to accelerate the deployment of SMRs in Canada.

Point Lepreau (Image: NB Power)

A Memorandum of Understanding signed by Advanced Reactor Concepts (the parent company of ARC Nuclear Canada Inc), Moltex and NB Power establishes plans to pursue collaboration in areas such as supply chain development activities, shared technology education and trades initiatives, and common research and development activities. NB Power's existing Point Lepreau site - currently home to a 660 MWe (net) Candu 6 reactor - can accommodate multiple SMRs, the company said.

ARC Canada - a subsidiary of Advanced Reactor Concepts - and Moltex have been working with NB Power to advance Generation IV grid-sized SMR technology, NB Power said. The parties are working towards establishing New Brunswick as the hub for supply chain and technical support. ARC Canada is developing the ARC-100 SMR, a sodium-cooled fast reactor. Moltex is developing Stable Salt Reactor (SSR) technology.

"New Brunswick has an opportunity to become a world leader in small modular nuclear reactor research, development and manufacturing," New Brunswick Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland said. "We believe that New Brunswick can be the place where technology is developed that will put our province on the map as a global emissions reduction leader and it is great to see the collaborative approach between NB Power, ARC Canada and Moltex."

Moltex plans to build its first-of-a-kind SSR-Wasteburner - a fast reactor that uses recycled nuclear waste as fuel - at Point Lepreau.

"This MOU formalises and strengthens the existing relationship between us, NB Power and ARC Nuclear," said Rory O'Sullivan, Moltex Energy's CEO, North America. "We look forward to continuing to seek opportunities to collaborate in the interest of advancing the nuclear industry in New Brunswick. "

ARC Canada Chairman Don Wolf said. "We are certain that nuclear energy has a critical role to play in the creation of a future energy system that provides affordable, clean energy, 24/7 and integrates with renewable energy systems."

CNL launches second round of programme

Separately, nuclear science and technology organisation CNL has issued a call for proposals for the second round of its Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI) programme, which was launched in 2019 to accelerate the deployment of SMRs in Canada.

The programme, which enables participants to optimise resources, share technical knowledge, and gain access to CNL's expertise to help advance the commercialisation of SMR and advanced reactor technologies, now incorporates all advanced reactor designs including next-generation on-grid reactors and fusion technologies, CNL said. Research proposals for the second round of the CNRI must align with topics that include advanced reactor systems, fusion research and nuclear clean energy technologies. The deadline for submissions is 4 January and projects will be selected next spring.

"As a clean, safe and low-carbon source of energy, advanced reactors represent the future of nuclear energy here in Canada," said Dr. Jeff Griffin, CNL's vice president of science and technology. "Making that vision a reality requires continued progress in the research and development of SMR and AR designs, technologies and systems."

Moltex was one of four companies selected in the first round of the programme to partner with CNL. The others were Terrestrial Energy, Kairos Power and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News