Tribal council, First Nations take stake in SMR companies

26 September 2023

The North Shore Mi'kmaq Tribal Council (NSMTC) and its seven First Nation member communities are making financial investments in small modular reactor (SMR) developers Moltex Energy Canada Inc and ARC Clean Technology Canada Inc under historic equity agreements.

Details of the equity agreements were announced in an event held in St John, New Brunswick (Image: Moltex)

Under the separate agreements - the first of their kind in the field of SMR technology - NSMTC and its member communities (Oinpegitjoig, Ugpi'Ganjig, Natoaganeg, L'nui Menikuk, Tjipogtotjg, Metepenagiag and Amlamgog) will receive about CAD2 million (USD1.5 million) in share value from Moltex and CAD1 million in share value from ARC, which they say will enable them to share in the companies' success in developing and deploying advanced nuclear technology in New Brunswick and around the world. While details are confidential, the deals "have been structured in recognition of the key role First Nations play in New Brunswick's energy future."

Moltex and ARC have prioritised engagement with and including First Nation companies since establishing their businesses in New Brunswick. NSMTC, with the help of Saa Dene, a company focused on Indigenous inclusion through economic and social participation in the global economy, conducted "thorough due diligence" to ensure that Moltex and ARC's technologies and values harmonised with Indigenous teachings of honouring and respecting the Earth and its resources.

"As Indigenous people, we believe that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future," said NSMTC General Manager Jim Ward. "With this investment, we are building a legacy for our youth, as well as our communities and the environment. We are laying the groundwork for a prosperous future and opportunities that can be passed down for years to come."

Arlene Dunn, New Brunswick Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, said: "We are pleased to see another energy development opportunity embraced by First Nations here in New Brunswick. Creating these kinds of partnerships is essential to the economic development and increased employment for Indigenous communities, and to building a sustainable energy path for the province."

ARC is developing the ARC-100 sodium-cooled fast reactor which been selected by New Brunswick Power for implementation at the Point Lepreau site with completion targeted by the end of the decade. Moltex is developing three complimentary technologies: the Stable Salt Reactor - Wasteburner (SSR-W) molten salt reactor, the WAste To Stable Salt (WATSS) facility for recycling nuclear waste to produce SSR-W fuel, and a thermal energy storage system called GridReserve which the company says would enable the SSR-W to act as a peaking plant to back up intermittent renewables such as wind and solar. The company aims to deploy the first SSR-W unit at the Point Lepreau site by the early 2030s.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News