Category Archives: Uncategorized

CNA2020 Uncategorized

Provincial perspectives on small modular reactors

Two provincial cabinet members will take the CNA2020 mainstage to offer their perspectives of small modular reactors (SMRs) in their respective provinces.

Portrait of Dustin DuncanDustin Duncan has been the member of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly for Weyburn-Big Muddy since 2006. A member of the Saskatchewan Party, he currently serves as the Minister of Environment, Minister responsible for SaskPower and Minister responsible for the Water Security Agency. Previously, he managed various portfolios, including Energy and Resources, SaskEnergy.

Portrait of Greg RickfordIn 2018, Greg Rickford was elected as the member of Ontario Legislature for Kenora—Rainy River. A member of the Progressive Conservative Party, he is the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and the Minister of Indigenous Affairs. Previously, Rickford was the member of Parliament for the riding of Kenora since 2008. Federally, he served as Minister of State (Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario), Minister of Natural Resources and other portfolios.

In December, the premiers of Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to advance the development and deployment of SMRs. To address climate change, regional energy demand and economic development, the MOU commits the provinces to work cooperatively to:

  • address key issues for SMR deployment, such as technological readiness, regulatory frameworks, financing, waste management, and public and Indigenous engagement;
  • develop support for the SMR Roadmap and as requested by the CEOs of SaskPower, Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power and NB Power;
  • work with all levels of government to promote nuclear as clean energy;
  • influence the federal government to make the necessary changes to facilitate the introduction of SMRs;
  • engage with other interested provinces and territories to explore the potential for SMR deployment in their jurisdictions; and
  • inform the public about the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear energy and SMRs.

Join this CNA2020 plenary session on Thursday, February 27 from 11:00 to 12:00.

Find the complete CNA2020 schedule at https://cna.ca/cna2020/program/.

Uncategorized

Moltex Energy pursuing SMR build in New Brunswick

Moltex

The next generation of nuclear reactors is on its way in Canada.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a type of reactor that are smaller than conventional nuclear reactors. They can be built in factories and delivered to power sites and remote locations for installation at a low cost.

In Ontario, both Ontario Power Generation and Bruce Power are working with companies to develop SMRs.

And in New Brunswick, two companies signed agreements with NB Power and the Government of New Brunswick as part of an effort to build a manufacturing hub and potentially a second or even third reactor at Point Lepreau.

One of these companies is Moltex Energy.

At the recent Canadian Nuclear Society conference in Ottawa, Moltex Energy Canada Chief Executive Rory O’Sullivan spoke about the company’s efforts to have a stable salt reactor available before 2030.

“We signed the agreements with NB Power and the New Brunswick government last year,” he said.

There are now 10 full-time engineers at the Moltex office in New Brunswick, with five more expected to start in the fall.

“The main objective from the New Brunswick side is understanding our technology so they can eventually build a demonstration plant,” he said. “The long-term vision is to have New Brunswick as a cluster, to build a plant there and get the local supply chain engaged in the best position to sell components as we sell reactors around the world.”

Moltex’s reactor is an SSR, short for Stable Salt Reactor. It uses molten salt fuel in conventional fuel pins. The technology can reuse spent fuel from CANDU reactors at Point Lepreau. It can store heat as thermal energy in large tanks of molten salt that can be converted to steam to create electricity and be able to operate on demand.

“The concept of a meltdown doesn’t really apply,” O’Sullivan said. Companies like Moltex are among those working in Canada to build the next generation of nuclear reactors that offer more flexibility to work with renewables in clean-energy systems of the future.

“All grids around the world need more flexibility as renewables grow and as grids change and you get more electric vehicle charging spikes,” he said. “We are not just developing a reactor that runs baseload all the time. We are developing a hybrid nuclear storage solution.”

“Nuclear is going to be part of a decarbonized future grid. Our way of getting there is trying to build a nuclear solution that operates as cheaply as possible.”

CNA2020 Uncategorized

CNA Sponsorship Spotlight: Kinectrics

Students are the future of any industry. That’s one of the reasons why the Canadian Nuclear Association is pleased to have Kinectrics as the Gold-Level Sponsor of the Starting Your Nuclear Career student event at CNA2020.

Kinectrics’ origins can be traced back to 1912 as the technical and research division of Ontario Hydro, which was the largest electrical utility in North America. Ontario Hydro covered generation from nuclear, fossil, hydroelectric and renewable sources, as well as transmission and distribution. In the 1990s, the province broke-up and re-organized Ontario Hydro into multiple companies.

Kinectrics is a leader in engineering, testing, inspection, certification and consulting. Based in Toronto, it has more than 25 laboratory and testing facilities. Trusted by clients worldwide, its expertise is backed by a diverse fleet of field inspection equipment and an award-winning team of over 1,000 engineers and technical experts.

In December, Kinectrics opened a new 40,000-square-foot facility in Teeswater on nine acres of industrial property that will provide laundry services to Bruce Power. In 2017, Kinectrics opened the cornerstone of its expansion, a 37,000-square-foot facility at the Bruce Energy Centre, in Kincardine. With these two facilities, Kinectrics has invested more than $50 million in Bruce County initiatives over the past few years.

In November, partnership agreements between Ontario and international firms established the province as a stable global supplier of the life-saving medical isotope Lutetium-177. The agreements involved Bruce Power, Kinectrics, Framatome and ITM, a biotechnology and radiopharmaceutical group of companies based in Munich with a global network of production facilities. The two partnership agreements cover research, development, production, processing and export.

At CNA2020, the Kinectrics-sponsored Starting Your Nuclear Career event is set for Wednesday, February 26 from 15:00 to 17:00. This career information seminar is open to student delegates. It will feature recruitment professionals and a resume review from some of Canada’s leading nuclear companies.

Find the complete conference schedule at https://cna.ca/cna2020/program/.

To register, please visit https://cna.ca/cna2020/registration/.

Uncategorized

Lessons learned from the Pickering nuclear alert

Sunday morning, an emergency alert was sent out across Ontario about an incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. The alert was mistakenly sent during a routine test by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, which coordinates the government’s response to major emergencies.

The alert brought nuclear to the forefront, along with many misconceptions about Ontario’s largest provider of clean and reliable electricity. This is what we’ve learned.

The industry is prepared to respond in the event of an emergency

“OPG has a sophisticated and robust notification process in place that we would immediately follow in the unlikely event of an incident at the station,” Chief Nuclear Officer Sean Granville said.

Reporting to the Ministry of the Solicitor General, Emergency Management Ontario would manage the off-site response to nuclear emergencies. It would determine the appropriate level of public action based on the Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan.

This 200-page plan, which was last revised in 2017, provides clear instructions to every municipality that has a nuclear station within its jurisdiction. Local police, fire and ambulance crews implement the emergency plans.

Each of the three nuclear stations in Ontario (Pickering, Darlington and Bruce) also has its own plan and world-class emergency preparedness group.

The nuclear industry has a rigorous regulatory regime

The nuclear industry has one of the most rigorous regulatory regimes in the world. All Canadian nuclear operators work with the Word Association of Nuclear Operations to achieve the highest possible standards of nuclear safety. They also work with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies. An IAEA report showed that Canada has established and maintains a robust and comprehensive nuclear security infrastructure.

As well, at any given time, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has dedicated inspectors onsite at each of Canada’s nuclear power plants. It performs thousands of inspections annually to ensure Canada’s nuclear generating stations are operating safely. In 2017, the CNSC awarded OPG’s Pickering and Darlington stations its highest safety rating.

Ontario’s nuclear generating stations provide clean and reliable electricity

In 2018, the Pickering, Bruce and Darlington nuclear stations generated 60 per cent of Ontario’s electricity. It was their power that allowed OPG to close its coal-fired power plants, significantly reducing the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.

On a lifecycle basis, electricity from nuclear power generates an average of 16 g of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour. That’s more than hydro (4 g) and wind (12 g), but less than solar (22 g for concentrated solar power [CSP] or 46 g for photovoltaic [PV]). That compares to natural gas at 469 g/kWh and coal at 1,001 g/kWh.

In Canada alone, nuclear energy helps avoid 80 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That’s about the same as taking 15 million passenger vehicles off the road.

Located east of Toronto, the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station is one of the largest nuclear stations in the world. It operates six CANDU reactors. The facility has been safely and reliably providing Ontario with electricity since 1971.

Uncategorized

CNA Response to Winnipeg Free Press story on SMRs

Re: Small nuclear reactors no solution to climate change (Dec. 20)

In his opinion piece, Dave Taylor makes a number of incorrect assumptions.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are not a “fantasy” nor an “unproven concept on paper.” They are real.

This week, two floating reactors started providing electricity to the town of Pevek in Russia. These are the world’s first SMRs. Christmas lights were switched on using electricity from the reactors. The town will start receiving 64 megawatts of electricity from the reactors early next year.

SMRs can be deployed in remote communities in Canada that still use fossil fuels to generate electricity. This is because nuclear is a cleaner form of electricity generation, and it’s simply not economical to build hundreds of kilometres of power lines to connect these communities to the grid.

SMRs can also be used to provide emissions-free energy to existing grids or off-grid power to industry or mines.

The author also suggests the cost of nuclear energy in Ontario is high. According to the Ontario Energy Board’s 2019 Regulated Price Plan Supply Cost Report the cost of nuclear was 8.0 cents per kilowatt hour. That’s 4.4 cents per kilowatt hour lower than the average price of electricity in Ontario. Only hydro electricity costs less in Ontario.

The November 2019 Memorandum of Understanding between Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan to develop SMRs is the beginning of a transformation of our energy sector.

The critical transition to a low-carbon economy will be almost impossible without the reliable, safe and clean energy that nuclear technology provides.

As clearly stated by the International Energy Association in its May 2019 report, nuclear power is required to meet our global emissions reduction targets.

John Gorman
President and CEO
Canadian Nuclear Association
Ottawa, ON

Uncategorized

Stretching our Carbon Budget with Nuclear Power

By John Gorman
Originally published by MediaPlanet, December 17, 2019

Nuclear power is a practical and inexpensive technology, and it’s essential to avoiding the worst effects of climate change in the coming decades.

Modelling our climate is complex, but the big picture is simple: to keep global warming under 1.5°C, as proposed under the Paris Agreement, there’s only so much carbon we can pour into the atmosphere – about 580 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.

Humanity is burning about 37 gigatonnes per year, which means that the time left to stave off catastrophic change is short. By the time we burn through the budget, we’ll have to be taking out as much as we put in.

Limited national progress

Through the Paris Agreement, countries around the world committed to target limits on their total carbon emissions. If kept, these should keep us within the carbon budget.

But they aren’t. Many countries are not even coming close to their targets, partly because of increased demand for power and rapid industrialization. Germany, for example, has had to increase its fossil-fuel use because of the closure of nuclear power plants. And China is massively increasing coal-fired electricity generation. Even Canada is not on track to meeting its target of reducing carbon emissions by 30% from 2005 to 2030. According to the International Energy Agency, greenhouse-gas pollution has risen worldwide for two consecutive years.

Green alternatives

There have been hopeful signs. Prices of low-carbon renewable energy, such as wind and solar, have dropped substantially in recent years, and there’s been a corresponding increase in use. In 2017, solar power reached a global capacity of 398 GW. And carbon capture and sequestration, the only technology proven to remove carbon from industrial operations, has been demonstrated in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. We can expect these technologies to continue to advance. But can this be done in the decade or so we have left in the carbon budget?

Nuclear power: clean and affordable

Given how short our timeline is, nuclear power offers a practical way ahead, and it’s already doing a lot to keep carbon out of our atmosphere.

The lifecycle carbon emissions of nuclear power are comparable to wind and even lower than for solar. According to the World Nuclear Association, the world’s 445 reactors are saving 2.5 gigatonnes of carbon-dioxide emissions every year. This is why Ontario, which generates almost 60% of its electricity through nuclear, has seen a steady drop in air pollution since 2003. It’s why countries such as Sweden and France have been able to decarbonize their economies. It’s also why provinces such as New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, and many countries around the world, are taking a closer look at what we call the “new nuclear” – small modular reactors that can power industrial activities and remote communities.

Environmentalists look to a future powered by renewables, but there is also increasing recognition of nuclear power as part of that future, or at least a bridge to it. This is partly because the transformation of our energy sector is going to be expensive, while nuclear power delivers electricity at competitive prices. This, along with the increasing capacity of nuclear technologies to support variable sources of electricity like wind and solar, makes nuclear an attractive option for decarbonizing our electricity grids.

As our climate crisis deepens, and our needs for clean electricity increase, nuclear power is emerging as our most practical, clean technology choice.