New Brunswick affirms support for Point Lepreau SMR

10 December 2019

New Brunswick Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland yesterday affirmed the province's support for the siting of ARC Nuclear Canada Inc's ARC-100 small modular reactor (SMR) at the existing Point Lepreau nuclear power plant.

Holland (L) and Sawyer at the ARC Canada event (Image: ARC Canada)

"As we strive to energise the private sector, our government recognises the significant benefit that technology development can bring to the province," Holland said at an event hosted by ARC Canada, which is based in the province. "New Brunswick, and companies such as ARC Canada, is leading the way in the exploration of small modular reactors in Canada, and we are well positioned to be a world leader. We are also poised to be a key component in this potentially worldwide supply chain."

ARC Canada is working to commercialise the ARC-100, a 100 MWe integrated sodium-cooled fast reactor with a metallic uranium alloy core. The company in October completed the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's (CNSC's) pre-licensing vendor design review (VDR) for the reactor. Holland said the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant site - home to a Candu reactor operated by NB Power - is an attractive location for the commercial demonstration of SMR technology. As an experienced nuclear operator with an excellent safety record, the site can accommodate at least two demonstration reactors, he said.

ARC Canada President and CEO Norman Sawyer said the company is now moving into the next phase of the CNSC review process, which will include expansion of the organisation and future technology design progression. He said the company's vision of building a local, sustainable supply chain would be a "significant opportunity" for the province, although the next phase of the VDR would like other Canadian technologies depend on federal, and not provincial, funding. "With the solid groundwork that has been laid by ARC Canada, New Brunswick deserves an opportunity like any other province in Canada," he said.

Holland's comments were made days after the premiers of three Canadian provinces - New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan - agreed to collaborate on the development and deployment of SMRs.

ARC Canada and UK-based Moltex Energy were in 2018 selected by New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation as partners in a nuclear research cluster to work on research and development of SMR technology in the province. Moltex plans to build a demonstration SSR-W (Stable Salt Reactor - Wasteburner) at Point Lepreau.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News