Build New Reactors
Canada and several provinces are looking for ways to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, just as many Canadians are using electricity in new ways, such as electric vehicles. Nuclear power can help meet that demand, in a way that is cleaner than fossil fuels.
New reactor technology
Small modular reactors (SMRs) have been a dream for decades, with viable designs coming online around the world. SMRs produce a maximum of 300 megawatts, enough to power a small city. They are modular, meaning that they can be assembled and shipped to where they will be used — in off-grid industry, for increasing the capacity of existing grids or powering Canada’s many remote communities.
Canadian companies are advancing several SMR designs that are now in review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Canada’s federal nuclear watchdog. The opportunities for domestic use are great; however, the potential of global leadership in SMR design is enormous, with a global market estimated at $150 billion between 2030 and 2040.
Canada’s signature nuclear reactor, CANDU, also presents opportunities for increasing the supply of clean energy at home and overseas. The Enhanced CANDU 6 design completed its final pre-licensing vendor design review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in 2013. Like its predecessor, the Enhanced CANDU 6 uses natural uranium and heavy water, and can be refuelled during operation. It also features safety enhancements to meet the latest Canadian and international standards. Its sister reactor, the Advanced Fuel CANDU Reactor, has a similar design but can use recycled uranium as fuel, a feature that has interested utilities in the United States and overseas.
Building new reactors would bring several benefits to the environment and the Canadian economy.
- Fighting climate change
Continuing to use zero-emission nuclear energy will help Ontario avoid burning more fossil fuels and avoid greenhouse gas emissions.
- Improving air quality
Ontario’s nuclear fleet made it possible for the province to discontinue its use of coal, leading to a sharp decline in smog days and related problems with respiratory health.
- Creating jobs
A single nuclear unit will employ nearly 1,000 people in full-time jobs for decades.