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CNA Welcomes Small Modular Reactor Action Plan

December 18, 2020

OTTAWA (December 18, 2020) – The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) welcomed the announcement today of the Small Modular Reactor Action Plan (SMR Action Plan), unveiled by the federal government.  The Action Plan builds on the SMR Roadmap of 2018 and is an integral part of the government’s pursuit of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“Today’s release of the government’s Small Modular Reactor Action Plan is an important step in furthering Canada’s leadership role in clean electricity generation and is a catalyst for the transition to low-or non-emitting industrial production among some of Canada’s highest-emitting sectors,” said John Gorman, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association. “Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will require decisions and investments now to lay foundations for the clean energy of the future.”

Canada’s electricity system is already 82% derived from emissions-free sources, making it one of the world’s largest and cleanest electricity systems.  Eight of ten Canadians already have access to over 95% emissions-free electricity, in six provinces.  Canada’s emission-free generation is presently derived from a combination of hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, biofuel, solar, geothermal and tidal, plus natural gas coupled with carbon capture and storage. 

“Net-zero will take everyone playing their part – hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels, geothermal and tidal. Today’s Action Plan signals a commitment to harness Canada’s global advantages and move past public commitments to actually get results—to meet our targets,” added Gorman. “Not only will we be able to complete the transition to a fully clean electricity grid in Canada, but we can help move steel, cement, oil and gas, mining and agriculture to non-emitting sources. With first-mover advantage in SMR commercialization, Canada can secure a pre-eminent role as the world leader in the export of Clean Technology on a scale to help meet global Paris targets. That’s a legacy.”

About Small Modular Reactors

Every year in Canada, nuclear technology helps avoid 80 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by displacing fossil fuels and supplies 70 per cent of the global supply of cobalt-60, radioisotopes that are used to treat cancer and sterilize medical equipment, among other things. It contributes more than $17 billion to Canada’s economy each year and creates more than 76,000 direct and indirect, well-paying jobs.

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are nuclear fission reactors that are being designed to be built at a smaller size but in larger numbers than most of the world’s current nuclear fleet. Some small nuclear reactors have existed since the beginning of reactor technology fifty years ago. Examples include research reactors at universities (of which there are several in Canada), demonstration reactors (built prior to scaling up a design for commercial electricity supply), and marine propulsion reactors (used in vessels of several navies for decades). SMRs are being designed to be:

  • Small – in both power output and physical size;
  • Modular – meaning they are factory constructed, portable and scalable;
  • Reactors – using nuclear fission to produce energy: energy for electricity, hybrid energy systems, district heating, water desalination, and high-quality steam for heavy industry applications.

Canada stands to solidify its leading position in the world’s nuclear industry with the introduction of these next-generation technologies. More on SMRs.

About the Canadian Nuclear Association

The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) has been the national voice of the Canadian nuclear industry since 1960. Working with our members and all communities of interest, the CNA promotes the industry nationally and internationally, works with governments on policies affecting the sector and endeavours to increase awareness and understanding of the value nuclear technology brings to the environment, economy and daily lives of Canadians.

Media Contact

Tricia Weagant

Vice President


Media Contact

Christopher Gully
Vice President, Communications & Member Engagement
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