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Canada’s small nuclear reactor project is looking like just a pipe-dream.

Globe Climate: Canada wants nuclear to power the future. But how? SIERRA BEIN Matthew McClearn is an investigative reporter and data journalist with The Globe. For this week’sdeeper dive, he talks about Canada’s nuclear ambitions. Globe and Mail, 19 July 21

Senior government officials, notably federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan, say small modular reactors (SMRs) will help Canada achieve net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century. There’s just one problem: it’s not clear yet whether any will be built.

To be sure, many promises made by SMR vendors seem compelling. By taking advantage of factory-style mass production, they’re supposed to be far cheaper than previous generations of reactors, which tended to be massive and prone to cost overruns. They’d also be easier to deploy…….. 

A mad scramble to deliver on these promises is now underway. Ontario Power Generation—by far Canada’s most experienced nuclear station operator—plans to select a vendor to build a SMR at its Darlington Station by 2028. Further out, Saskatchewan is considering whether to order its own SMRs to replace coal-fired plants.

Accomplishing all that would silence numerous critics and naysayers. But as I explain in my most recent story, history is littered with reactors that failed to live up to their promises.   . Many SMR vendors are very early-stage companies which face years of grueling, expensive R&D work to advance their designs to the point they could actually be built. And they’re competing against renewable technologies including wind and solar, which utilities can purchase and deploy today. It may be premature to count on SMRs to help meet Canada’s emissions targets.

July 20, 2021 - Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

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