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Monday, May 20, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Alternative Energy

Province of Alberta invests $600,000 to investigating nuclear power option

Ontario is presently constructing Canada’s first SMR in Darlington and is slated to be operational by 2028

Province of Alberta invests $600,000 to investigating nuclear power option
Alberta's Premier Danielle Smith. Image from Jason Franson via the Canadian Press.

The Province of Alberta is investing $600,000 to X-Energy Reactor Company LLC in collaboration with TransAlta Corporation to put together a study determining if it would be feasible to repurpose a fossil fuel electric generation site for nuclear power.

The government announced last week that the funding will come from the Crown-operated Emissions Reduction Alberta, which in turn gets its funding from revenues from Albera’s industrial carbon pricing system, called the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) regulation.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith expressed interest in Ontario’s progress following the announcement in January of an agreement between Edmonton-based Capital Power and Ontario Power Generation to assess the feasibility of developing SMRs in Alberta. Ontario is presently constructing Canada’s first SMR in Darlington and is slated to be operational by 2028. The province initiated the project in 2022 after receiving a $970 million loan from the Canada Infrastructure Bank for reactor development.

“We’re hoping the federal government will work with us to be able to streamline the approval processes once that’s proven technology,” Smith said. “If we can roll it out faster, I think that there are a number of municipalities that would be interested in trying it.”

Smith also indicated collaboration with Saskatchewan to develop its regulatory framework.  Saskatchewan aims for completion of its first SMR by 2034. Nathan Neudorf, the province’s minister of affordability and utilities, emphasized the importance of developing regulations in the coming years for an industry still in its infancy in Alberta.

Read more: ATHA Energy expands into new Canadian territory with 2024 exploration program

Read more: ATHA Energy closes acquisition of Latitude Uranium, obtains Nunavut and Labrador properties

Alberta is the latest province to join the nuclear renaissance

Neudorf highlighted the ongoing review of Alberta’s electricity grid and stressed the need to consider nuclear’s industrial applications, particularly in sectors like oil and gas, which heavily rely on natural gas for powering operations.

Ben Reinke, vice-president of global business development with X-energy, anticipates deploying the province’s first small modular reactor sometime early in the next decade.

Despite a more than six-month moratorium by the UCP government on renewable projects, solar projects continue to receive approvals. Recently, the utilities commission approved a 450-megawatt air solar project southwest of Medicine Hat.

Alberta is the latest in a series of Canadian provinces to look into the possibility of SMRs as a fossil fuel alternative.

The Governments of New Brunswick and Saskatchewan signed memorandum of understanding this time last year to develop SMRs. The two provinces along with their utility crown corporations, SaskPower and New Brunswick Power, will share experiences, knowledge, and successes regarding various aspects of SMR deployment plans under the memorandum.

These aspects encompass supply chain development, Indigenous relations, labour market development, regulations, and more.

This new nuclear renaissance has spurred increased demand for uranium. Several key players dominate the global uranium market, shaping its dynamics through major uranium mining companies and producing nations.

Companies like Canadian-based Cameco Corporation (NYSE: CCJ) (TSX: CCO) in the Athabasca Basin, Kazatomprom (LSE: KAP) in Kazakhstan, and Orano from France are among the major players in the uranium market.

Other companies operating in the Athabasca Basin include Denison Mines (TSX: DM), ATHA Energy Corp. (TSXV: SASK) (FRA: X5U) (OTCQB: SASKF), and Skyharbour Resources Ltd. (TSXV: SYH) (OTCQX: SYHBF) (Frankfurt: SC1P).

 

ATHA Energy Corp. is a sponsor of Mugglehead news coverage

 

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