OPG paving the way for Small Modular Reactor deployment
OPG advances work with three grid-scale SMR developers
Toronto – Consistent with a pan-Canadian approach to the development and deployment of next generation clean technology, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is advancing engineering and design work with three grid-scale Small Modular Reactor (SMR) developers: GE Hitachi, Terrestrial Energy and X-energy.
“OPG is leveraging more than 50 years of nuclear experience to support the development of carbon-free nuclear technology. Our work with these three developers, along with our Global First Power partnership with Ultra-Safe Nuclear Corporation and its SMR project to support remote energy needs, demonstrates OPG’s unique position to become a world leader in SMRs,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG President and CEO. “SMRs will play a key role in helping to reinvigorate Ontario’s economy and further support the province and Canada as they work toward meeting their climate change targets of zero-emission electricity.”
“Ontario’s nuclear expertise and first-mover capability positions Ontario and Canada to lead the world in SMR development,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Mines and Northern Development. “OPG’s extensive nuclear operating expertise and infrastructure project management experience paves a clear path forward to lead on a Canada-wide SMR effort.”
“For decades, Ontario has led Canada’s nuclear industry in safe, carbon free, reliable nuclear generation,” said Bill Walker, Associate Minister of Energy. “With over 70,000 jobs supporting this key sector of our economy – the vast majority based here in Ontario – we are poised to lead the world in the development and deployment of small modular reactors.”
On December 1, 2019, the Provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that puts into place a framework for action on the deployment of SMRs in their respective jurisdictions. In August 2020, Alberta also signalled their intention to enter into the MOU.
OPG recently concluded a due diligence process, in collaboration with other major energy utilities, to advance the development of an SMR in Ontario that would pave the way for the potential deployment of SMRs in other jurisdictions.
The deployment of Small Modular Reactors in Ontario would capitalize on the existing nuclear supply chain within the province and could enable other provinces to transition away from coal; provide alternative energy options to benefit energy intensive industries; drive national job creation and innovation; facilitate deep, economically sustainable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; and accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to a zero emissions electrical grid in Canada.
- Nuclear power is the backbone of Ontario’s electricity system and provides affordable and reliable energy 24/7 – avoiding 45 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
- The Canadian nuclear industry is growing in size and now accounts for 76,000 jobs across Canada (an increase from 60,000 jobs in 2012), with most of those jobs concentrated in Ontario.
- SMRs, like traditional nuclear reactors, are designed to provide safe, reliable, carbon-free electricity, and offer lower capital cost and faster deployment than current reactors.
- By generating from one megawatt to 300 megawatts of energy, SMRs are expected to be a reliable alternate energy source to replace diesel in rural communities and mines and to eliminate the need for coal plants.
OPG is a climate change leader and the largest clean electricity generator in the province, providing more than half of the power Ontarians rely on every day. It is also one of the most diverse generators in North America, with expertise in nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass, solar and natural gas technologies.
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