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Friday, Mar 24, 2023
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Alternative Energy

Canadian Infrastructure Bank loans $1B to Ontario Power Generation for new small modular reactor for nuclear energy

Entirely owned by the province, OPG has operated nuclear power facilities for over 50 years.

Image via Ontario Power Generation

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) is loaning CAD$970 million to power producer Ontario Power Generation (OPG) towards building a grid-scale, small modular reactor (SMR) for nuclear energy.

This addition will be the first SMR in the group of seven wealthy nations (G7) and will be part of the country’s plans to reduce emissions, according to a spokesperson for Natural Resources Ministry Jonathan Wilkinson. The funding was offered as low-interest debt by the CIB. The first phase of the work financed by the CIB will include all preparation before nuclear construction. This includes project design, site preparation, equipment procurement, digital strategy implementation and project management costs.

“We know nuclear energy, including from SMRs, is an essential part of the electricity mix to help meet our climate change goals. This low-interest financing helps us advance the Darlington New Nuclear Project, paving the way for development and deployment of the next generation of nuclear power in Canada,” said Ken Hartwick, president and CEO of OPG.

Entirely owned by the province, OPG has operated nuclear power facilities for over 50 years. The Darlington site is also the only location in Canada with a license for a new nuclear reactor.

Read more: The Mugglehead resources and mining roundup: uranium

Read more: Traction Uranium inks service agreement with Saskatchewan Research Council

SMR are the nuclear alternative

SMRs are a relatively new type of nuclear reactor with 300 megawatts or less. They come with a shorter construction schedule compared to traditional nuclear power stations and produce no carbon emissions across all regions. They are also completely necessary for decarbonizing the electricity sector. OPG’s Climate Change Plan lays out how the company intends to be a net-zero carbon company by 2040, working towards being a driver for change in achieving a net-zero economy by 2050. The company believes that developing and implementing a SMR is a big step in that direction.

The Darlington SMR will be the first ever developed. It’s anticipated to be the prototype for projects in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta, and potentially, the US and Europe. If successful, it will make Canada the go-to for SMR in a market expected to reach CAD$150 billion per year by 2040.

The SMR will help Canada avoid 740,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, the equivalent of 160,000 gas cars.

Furthermore, a 2020 study from the Conference Board of Canada shows there are some strong economic incentives towards building and operating a single SMR facility for 60 years. These incentives include 700 new jobs as the project develops, with 1,600 jobs during manufacturing and construction. Also, 200 jobs during operations and 160 jobs during decommissioning.


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