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

Alternative Energy

Ontario Power Generation partners with tech firms to build small modular reactor

The Darlington New Nuclear Project is deploying the GEH BWRX-300 which will be the first grid-scale SMR deployed in Canada

A rendering of the BWRX-300 small modular rOntario Power Generation Inc--Team forms to build North America-eactor
A rendering of the BWRX-300 small modular reactor. Image by Ontario Power Generation Inc.

By the end of the decade, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) could start using a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) to power people’s homes in the province.

Last week, OPG announced it signed an agreement with a team of nuclear experts to lead the reactor’s construction for the next six years including Candu Energy Inc., a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group (TSX: SNC), GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Aecon.

The Darlington New Nuclear Project is deploying the GEH BWRX-300 which will be the first grid-scale SMR deployed in Canada.

SMRs are compact, highly efficient reactors designed to be constructed in factories and transported to their final destination for installation, reducing construction time and costs compared to traditional power plants. They also offer a more flexible and scalable solution, with modules that can be added or removed as energy demands change.

OPG will be the license holder and maintain overall responsibility for the project, including other tasks such as operator training, commissioning, Indigenous engagement, stakeholder outreach and oversight. GE Hitachi will be the technology developer responsible for the design, procurement of major components, engineering and support.

SNC-Lavalin will be the architect engineer to provide design, engineering and procurement support and Aecon will provide construction planning and execution. The company is the only one to have a technology pass at all three phases of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s pre-project design review.

Ontario Power Generation partners with tech firms to build small modular reactor

Illustration of a light water small modular nuclear reactor (SMR). Photo via U.S. Government Accountability Office from Washington, DC.

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

Read more: Canada investing in new ‘non-emitting’ nuclear power technologies: Minister of Natural Resources

The project is expected to significantly reduce carbon emissions

The reactor will be designed to operate for 60 years, with the potential for life extension to 80 years.

The team is currently working to secure the necessary funding and regulatory approvals for the project, with the goal of breaking ground on the SMR within the next few years. The project is expected to take several years to complete, with the reactor expected to be operational by the end of the decade.

The project has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions and help meet the country’s energy needs.

The Darlington SMR is expected to spearhead similar projects in SaskatchewanNew Brunswick and Alberta. Site preparation is now underway at the Darlington site and OPG has applied to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a license to construct.

Read more: GSE Solutions inks contract to provide updated regulatory training for nuclear operators

Read more: GSE Solutions and NuScale Power use simulation to determine next step in alternative energy project

Ian L. Edwards, President and CEO of SNC-Lavalin said that as mentioned in the company’s Engineering Net Zero reportCanada’s 2050 Net Zero commitments will require large-scale electrification of transportation, buildings and heavy industrial processes.

“That electricity needs to be generated from clean, reliable, and cost-efficient sources, whose employment in the energy mix will not weaken energy security,” Edwards said.

“Our involvement in what will be Canada’s first SMR to come to market, and its first nuclear new build in roughly 30 years, reaffirms SNC-Lavalin’s leading position in the nuclear energy market, for both existing and new nuclear technologies.”

Ontario Power Generation Inc. is a Crown corporation and “government business enterprise” that is responsible for approximately half of the electricity generation in the province of Ontario, Canada. It is wholly owned by the government of Ontario.


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