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Talk Nuclear

Nuclear Power: Part of Canada’s Energy Transition

Guest blog by Ted Gruetzner, Vice-President, Energy, Environment and Resources, Global Public Affairs
February 25, 2021

Welcome to a series of guest blogs by some of Canada’s top nuclear experts.

Over the next few weeks, Talk Nuclear will host blogs by the speakers of Nuclear Power: Part of Canada’s Energy Transition, a webinar hosted by Global Public Affairs. We’ll hear a range of insights and perspectives on the potential of nuclear energy and small modular reactors (SMRs) in Canada. Join us weekly as we explore nuclear’s role in achieving an energy future that is reliable, affordable and clean.

To introduce this series is a guest blog from Ted Gruetzner, Vice-President, Energy, Environment and Resources, Global Public Affairs. Read the next post in the series here.

BY TED GRUETZNER | I’ve noticed a hopeful and growing trend in Canada’s energy industry; we’re finally looking at our energy future as a cooperative effort free of the binary “it has to be this or that” conversations that blocked progress in the past.

I say this as someone who spent most of his career working in the nuclear and hydroelectric worlds. Then, following a career move two years ago, I found myself primarily working with oil and gas clients. Even then, the industry was full of solitudes. There was no real effort to look at how the various sectors could help each other. But I could tell there was a curiosity in what nuclear technology was up to and how it could fit into Western Canada’s energy future.

It was with that in mind that bringing my two energy worlds together became a mission for me.

This mission got a boost with Alberta’s signing of a memorandum of understanding with Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick to support the development of small modular reactors (SMRs). This sparked interest in how nuclear technology will play a role in Canada’s energy transition and how it could help Western Canada increase electrification and decarbonization.

In late 2020, I convened a webinar panel of nuclear industry experts to outline the potential for nuclear power, the regulatory process, the practical applications in the oil and mining sector, the supply chain, and how the industry was working to manage spent fuel and other nuclear by-products.

The event attracted one of the largest and most engaged audiences of Global Public Affairs’ webinar series and hosted a panel that included:

  • Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy, Government of Alberta
  • John Gorman, President and CEO, Canadian Nuclear Association
  • Marla Orenstein, Director, Natural Resources Centre, Canada West Foundation
  • Diane Cameron, Director, Nuclear Energy, Government of Canada
  • Ramzi Jammal, Executive Vice-President and Chief Regulatory Operations Officer Regulatory Operations Branch, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Lisa Frizzell, Vice-President of Stakeholder Relations, Nuclear Waste Management Organization
  • Ron Oberth, President and CEO, Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries
  • Nathan Tedford, Nuclear Technologies Lead, Hatch Ltd.

Over the next few weeks, Talk Nuclear will host guest blogs from a few of these participants capturing their insights. To get us started, John Gorman introduces SMRs and their role in decarbonization and electrification.