Submission by the Canadian Nuclear Association
to the Voluntary National Review on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
May 4, 2018
Nuclear Matters for Climate Action . . . and for 9 of the 17 SDGs
While civil nuclear technology contributes to most of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (see attached brochure), the Canadian nuclear energy community has been making a special collaborative effort this year that has particularly strong relevance to Climate Action (SDG #13). This could enable Canada to lead globally in propagating a transformative clean technology.
Nuclear energy is very energy-dense, low-GHG, base-load power that has a small land footprint and is highly resilient to climate change. Currently the industry is re-scaling and simplifying nuclear reactors in ways that could safely address a wider universe of human, social and environmental needs worldwide using proven technology.
These needs would include clean power for remote communities, building heat, local food security, water desalination, heavy marine vessel propulsion, and producing hydrogen as a clean transport fuel. Small reactors have been proven reliable for decades (e.g. in submarines and at research facilities), so they are best understood as a re-scaling and repurposing of nuclear reactors, rather than as a new technology.
CNA contracted in early 2018 to provide the Secretariat for a nine-month, multi-stakeholder project on user requirements for small modular reactors (SMRs) in various applications in Canada. We are proud to be working with Natural Resources Canada to facilitate this important Project, which brings our nuclear industry community with so many potential new beneficiaries and partners.
The SMR Roadmap Project
The Project is pan-Canadian (East, West, North) and collaborative (government-Crown Corporations-industry). It addresses a worldwide and Canadian gap (the need to meet Paris Accord commitments for GHG reductions) on the path to an important SDG (Climate Action). It integrates the social, economic and environmental dimensions by approaching SMRs from the perspective of human, community and user needs and concerns.
And because there is a global market for base load clean energy in small, energy-dense units — and Canada is a global leader in deriving human benefits from nuclear science and technology — the Project has potentially global benefits.
Governance and Goals
The Project’s Steering Committee is chaired by the federal government (Natural Resources Canada, Nuclear Energy Division) and has participants from four Provinces (Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta), two Territories (Nunavut and Northwest Territories), and industry. Working Groups may include representatives of other organizations, and the Project’s several Workshop events invite a wide range of stakeholders to participate. Total Project budget is currently $510,000, funded by contributions of $200,000 from Natural Resources Canada, $100,000 each from Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation, and the balance from other project partners.
The goal is to hold a national conversation about the needs and priorities of Canadians that will lead to understanding the value of SMRs, identify some key issues around their use, appreciate the risks and challenges, and identify some policies that could influence the feasibility of SMRs in Canada.
For more information on the Project and its current status, please contact Project Manager John Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.