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The next evolution of nuclear power

The future of clean power could lie in safe, small, scalable nuclear power plants – and OPG is working to bring this exciting new technology to Canada.

A Small Modular Reactor (right) compared to a traditional nuclear reactor.
A Small Modular Reactor (right) compared to a traditional nuclear reactor.

Like traditional nuclear reactors, small modular reactors, or SMRs, are designed to provide reliable, carbon-free electricity. But unlike conventional reactors, SMRs are much smaller both physically and in their land footprint, modular in that they are factory constructed and then delivered to site, and have other uses beyond electricity generation. They produce heat that can be easily used for other applications like district heating for commercial or residential needs, hybrid energy systems, water desalination, or heavy industry applications.

SMRs ranging in size from 1 megawatt (MW) to 300 MW could augment Ontario and Canada’s supply of clean energy while providing heat and reliable power to industrial operations as well as remote, rural communities that rely on dirty diesel generation. The innovative new technology also presents a significant growth opportunity for OPG.

OPG, along with other Canadian power companies, government representatives and industry organizations urged the federal government to provide funding for the development of prototype reactors in a recently released Canadian roadmap study for SMR deployment. The report found Canada is uniquely positioned to lead the world in SMR development given its long history in nuclear power.

In an effort to bring SMRs to Canada, OPG is collaborating with many leading SMR vendors who are working to deploy ground-breaking SMR technologies. One example, OPG is supporting Global First Power’s proposal to construct and operate Canada’s first proposed SMR at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ Chalk River site.

Fast facts

  • SMRs are much smaller than a traditional reactor
  • They generate heat and power through nuclear fission
  • They are factory constructed and delivered to site
  • There are currently more than 150 proposed SMR designs world wide