Tag Archives: small modular reactor

CNA2020 Uncategorized

SMRs AS DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are to large nuclear plants as desktop personal computers were to room-sized mainframe computers. SMRs have the potential to disrupt our world in ways we cannot imagine. Join this panel presentation as the panellists talk about what the future might hold for this new technology.

Mark Lesinski was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) in 2015. CNL is Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology laboratory, managed by the Canadian National Energy Alliance. Lesinski has a distinguished career in nuclear science, operations, projects and decommissioning. His 38 years of experience spans commercial and government nuclear facilities, including power reactor operations, major retrofit projects, and management of decontamination and decommissioning.

Ken Canavan was appointed Chief Technology Officer of Westinghouse Electric Company in 2018. He leads Westinghouse’s efforts to drive next-generation technology and innovation solutions that align with the company’s global business strategy. Previously Canavan was Director of Engineering for the Electric Power Research Institute. There he was responsible for turning industry needs into compelling research and development plans, which improved the safety and performance of the global nuclear fleet. He has more than 30 years of experience in key engineering and risk management roles.

A visiting lecturer at the University of Manchester, Kirk Atkinson joined the Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science at Ontario Tech University as an Associate Professor in 2019. An expert on SMRs in the marine context, he served on the Physics Working Group and Science Support Network for the United Kingdom’s Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. He was also part of the team assessing nuclear power options for future Royal Navy submarines. As naval reactors are the original SMRs, Atkinson is perhaps the only Canadian academic with real-world experience working in a successful program encompassing the design, manufacture, operation and disposal of small pressurized water reactors.

Join the discussion at this panel presentation on Friday morning.

You can find the full CNA2020 program at https://cna.ca/cna2020/program/.

CNA2020

CNA2020 Pre-conference Seminar Focuses on SMR Progress in New Brunswick

logo for NB PowerSmall modular reactors (SMRs) are a clean energy option for Canada’s provinces and northern territories. This year’s pre-conference SMR seminar will showcase SMR developments in New Brunswick as NB Power celebrates its 100th anniversary.

In 2018, New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation, a provincial Crown corporation, committed $10 million toward establishing an SMR research cluster in New Brunswick. Advanced Reactor Concepts (ARC) Nuclear and Moltex Energy also invested $5 million each to advance research and development of their technologies. The two companies are working with the University of New Brunswick (UNB) to establish curriculum as well as plans for research and development at UNB and the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research. Both vendors are active in the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) vendor design review process and one partner has successfully completed Phase 1.

Utility Plan for SMR Development and Deployment

Ontario Power Generation Vice-President of Nuclear Regulatory Affairs and Stakeholder Relations and Regulatory Readiness Working Group Co-Chair Robin Manley will kick off the seminar. He will describe the pan-Canadian approach and how the work in New Brunswick fits within this approach. To move to commercial demonstration, ARC and Moltex would need to have each of their technologies successfully complete Phase 2 of the CNSC vendor design review, and their financial and project planning predictions would need to continue to show promise. If these conditions are met, then NB Power envisions commercial demonstrations of both reactor types at the Point Lepreau site with an in-service date of about 2030.

Manley’s presentation will be followed by four panel presentations.

Vision for New Brunswick

Chair: Assistant Deputy Minister Energy and Mines, New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development, Bill Breckinridge

Panelists:

  • NB Power Senior Strategic Officer Paul Thompson
  • ARC Nuclear Canada President and CEO Norman Sawyer
  • Moltex Energy Chief Executive, North American Rory O’Sullivan,

Economic Development and Supply Chain

Chair: Atlantica Centre for Energy President Colleen D’Entremont

Panelists:

  • NB Power Senior Strategic Advisor, SMR Project Planning Wayne Woodworth
  • ARC Nuclear Canada President and CEO Norman Sawyer
  • Moltex Energy Chief Executive, North American Rory O’Sullivan
  • Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries President and CEO Ron Oberth
  • Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Divisional Vice President Ron Marcolin

Importance of Engagement

Chair: CANDU Owners Group Director, Nuclear Safety and Environmental Affairs Program Rachna Clavero

Panelists:

  • Atlantica Centre for Energy President Colleen D’Entremont
  • NB Power Senior Strategic Advisor, Advanced Reactor Technology Team, Claire Harris
  • NB Power Manager of Community Affairs and Nuclear Regulatory Protocol Kathleen Duguay

R&D and Educational Capacity Building

Chair: NB Power Senior Strategic Advisor, Small Modular Reactors Dean Taylor

Panelists:

  • ARC Nuclear Canada President and CEO Norman Sawyer
  • Moltex Energy Vice-President of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, North American, Kun Chen
  • UNB Chemical Engineering Professor William Cook
  • Canadian Nuclear Laboratories Director of the Energy Program Gina Strati
  • University Network of Excellence in Nuclear Engineering President Jerry Hopwood

With so much to cover, the SMR pre-conference seminar will run from 13:00 to 17:00 on February 26.

Registration

Registration is required for all pre-conference seminars and is not included in regular conference registration. Please see the registration terms and conditions at https://www.cna.ca/register for more information and to register.

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.

Uncategorized

Small modular reactors help us take a giant leap in the fight against climate change

By John Gorman
Originally published in The Globe and Mail, December 12, 2019

To many Canadians, it may not seem like a big deal that the three provinces that have nuclear sectors – Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan – signed an agreement to develop small modular reactors (SMRs). But this milestone represents a giant leap forward for Canadian industry and the fight against climate change.

I’m new to the nuclear industry, but I’ve been working in the energy sector for 20 years. I’ve seen new technologies revolutionize how we produce and manage electricity. The development and deployment of SMRs has the potential to be even more transformative than the introduction of wind and solar power.

Why am I and others in the energy sector so excited about SMRs? The answer is in their name. First, they are small. Large reactors are powerful: They generate clean and inexpensive electricity for decades. But they take years to build, they are suitable only for large demand and they can’t be moved. SMRs, on the other hand, are like solar power in that they can be scaled to suit local needs.

SMRs are also modular, meaning they can be mass-produced and shipped to remote locations. A small city could use an SMR until it reaches capacity, then add another as the city grows. A mine could use an SMR to help with its peak production, then ship it to a new location when operations slow down.

The modular approach will also help to reduce costs. A new advanced reactor could cost more than $1-billion, but mass production removes duplication of the costs of licensing and customization. Bulk purchasing of parts and replication of skills would reduce costs further. In short, the upfront investment will be big, while the payoff in terms of inexpensive energy will last decades.

SMRs are to large reactors what desktops were to mainframe computers in the 1980s. They made computing practical, flexible and accessible for everyone.

There are three main ways that SMRs can transform Canada’s energy sector. First, as more provinces and territories phase out coal, SMRs can fill in the gap, producing similar amounts of power without carbon emissions and other pollution. SMRs produce a steady supply of electricity making it an ideal partner to wind and solar by eliminating the need for fossil fuel backups when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.

Second, SMRs can be deployed in the many remote communities in Canada that still use fossil fuels to generate electricity because it’s simply not economical to build hundreds of kilometres of power lines to connect to the grid.

Finally, SMRs can help with the operation of heavy industry, such as oil sands and mines. These facilities are a big part of Canada’s economy, but they are often remote and off-grid, and they need a lot of heat and power to operate.

There are some environmentalists who still resist the expansion of nuclear power. When I was chief executive of the Canadian Solar Industries Association, I was one of them. That’s until I realized that the critical transition to a low-carbon economy will be almost impossible without the reliable, safe and clean energy that nuclear technology provides. We need nuclear power to reduce emissions, as an increasing number of environmentalists, industry leaders and the International Energy Agency agree.

SMRs have several safety advantages built into them. Some designs use molten salt or liquid sodium as a coolant instead of water. Some are built so that the reactor shuts down if it is not being actively managed, while others are designed so that the reaction slows if it gets too hot. And the designs incorporate several advances in managing waste as well. Some are designed to require refuelling only every few years or even decades, and some “recycle” spent fuel, producing only a fraction of the waste of a conventional reactor.

We’re about to witness a fascinating race to determine the best SMR design, and some of the leading candidates are Canadian. Three companies have now passed the first review by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. They are now entering the second phase, a more detailed examination of their safety. Seven more designs are now in the first phase, and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories plans to have a demonstration unit built by 2026.

Canada has a great history as a leader in nuclear technology, dating back decades. We have some of the largest resources of uranium in the world. We also have the right people with the right skills to build safe and reliable nuclear reactors. And now that three provinces consider them a key technology for meeting emission targets, we have a clear demand for SMRs.

The agreement between the three provinces is the beginning of a transformation of our energy sector. But it’s more than that. We’ve just witnessed an election campaign that exposed regional divisions around energy and climate change. I don’t think SMRs are the entire answer to this debate, but they have the potential to be a uniting force between federal and provincial interests. Working together, we can use SMRs to meet our growing energy needs, reduce emissions and introduce carbon-free electricity to many new places in Canada and around the world.

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Moltex Energy pursuing SMR build in New Brunswick

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.

In severe accidents the fuel can tolerate temperatures up to 1,600 degrees before it starts to boil.
“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.”