EDMONTON — The Alberta government will enter into a memorandum of understanding with Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick to support the development of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).
SMRs are smaller and more scalable than traditional nuclear reactors and have lower upfront capital costs and enhanced safety features, an Alberta government release stated.
“Our government is exploring all opportunities that could help diversify our economy and create jobs for Albertans. We are building on our track record of responsible and innovative energy production by exploring the potential for small modular reactors, which have the potential to generate reliable and affordable energy, while also strengthening our traditional resource sectors and reducing emissions. We are excited to collaborate with our provincial partners to stay ahead of the game in the development of this promising technology,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement.
A typical SMR generates between two and 300 megawatts of electricity that can power a village or small city in comparison to a conventional nuclear reactor which can generate 600 to 1,000 megawatts, enough to provide power to a large city.
“Alberta’s rich uranium deposits, respected innovation and research sector, and technically skilled and educated workforce could make us an attractive destination to develop and deploy SMRs. By signing on to this agreement, our government is taking another step to attract investment and job creators to our province by ensuring we have the appropriate regulatory framework in place should private industry decide to pursue this emerging technology,” Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage added.
In November 2018 the federal government released the Canadian Small Modular Reactor Roadmap that outlines recommendations for collaboration among federal, provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities and other stakeholders to support SMR development in Canada.
In December 2019, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to support the development and deployment of SMRs.