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Advanced Small Modular Reactors

Small reactors, big opportunity

The next generation of nuclear technology

There is growing interest in advanced Small Modular Reactors (SMR) - the next generation of nuclear technology - because of their potential to generate low-carbon electricity safely, reliably, and inexpensively. They offer great flexibility for a number of uses within New Brunswick’s power grid.

What are advanced Small Modular Reactors?

  • Small in both size and power output compared to conventional power reactors. They produce one to 300 megawatts (MW) of electricity, as opposed to 700-900 MW produced by traditional reactors.
  • Modular means that they are manufactured in factories and transported to site after for lower capital costs as well as ease of installation, operation and removal.
  • Reactors in advanced SMRs use nuclear power, which is a non emitting and efficient way to generate electricity. Advanced SMRs are also designed for simplified safety and proliferation resistance.

What is happening in New Brunswick?

NB Power is working with two private-sector partners, Advanced Reactor Concepts (ARC) Nuclear Canada and Moltex Energy, to advance Generation IV Grid sized SMR technology for use in New Brunswick.

The New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation, a provincial Crown corporation, committed $10 million in 2018 towards the establishment of an advanced SMR Research Cluster in New Brunswick. ARC and Moltex also each invested $5 million to progress research and development of their advanced technologies.

The Government of New Brunswick, through the Energy Solutions Corporation, is also playing a role in helping to map a Canadian strategy for the development of SMR technology. In December 2019, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work cooperatively for the development and deployment of SMR in Canada. In August 2020, Alberta also signalled intent to sign the MOU.

Why is this important to New Brunswick and Canada?

Research around SMR technology will provide valuable information as we continue to work toward developing a resilient low-carbon economy. The technology developed here could also lead to future opportunities, including replacement of generation methods that currently produce higher levels of carbon.

New Brunswick is part of the pan-Canadian SMR Action Plan initiative, under the leadership of Natural Resources Canada Nuclear Energy division, so that we can be part of harvesting benefits for our customers — energy security, emission reductions, well-paid jobs, and business growth.

A state-of-the art SMR production program brings countless benefits to New Brunswick as part of the pan-Canadian program to grow the low carbon economy of the future. New Brunswick will be the centre of excellence for the development of the advanced SMR technology in the 2020-2035 time period. The direct and indirect economic benefits are projected to create:

  • Approximately 730 jobs per year over 15 years
  • $1 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • $120 million in provincial government revenue

Our province will be the hub for supply chain and technical support as the New Brunswick SMR technology is deployed in Canada and internationally. The economic benefits will go beyond New Brunswick and significant positive impact will be felt Canada wide as the technology grows.

Learn more about the economic benefits that the development of advanced SMR is projected to have on New Brunswick and in Canada here.

New Brunswick will be the centre of excellence for the development of the advanced SMR technology in the 2020-2035 time period.

As there are many changes in the energy sector, and pressures related to climate change and reducing our carbon footprint, it is imperative that NB Power shows leadership and innovation in finding new sources of energy for our future needs.

New Brunswick is well positioned to benefit from the opportunities thanks to the know-how of our people and the tremendous asset we have in Point Lepreau. Learn more here.

Canada’s nuclear industry is well positioned to become a leader in the world’s supply of advanced SMR. Since 2018, Natural Resources Canada has convened a roadmap to engage stakeholders on the future of SMR in Canada.

Additional Resources on Advanced SMR: