Small Modular Reactors in Canada’s future

December 5, 2019

By: Donald Jones, retired nuclear industry engineer, 2019 December 04

The announcement on 2019 December 01 by the premiers of Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick about cooperation in the development and deployment of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) (Ref. 1) should not have come as a total surprise. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has been working with a Micro Modular Reactor (MMR- a smaller version of a SMR) vendor to assist in getting its design through the pre-licensing vendor design reviews of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC). Bruce Power and New Brunswick Power have also been working with SMR vendors. There are many (Ref.2) SMR vendors at different stages in the review pipeline of the CNSC with no two reactors being the same. In some cases the design is an improved version of small reactors that have operated successfully in the past but now meeting current design codes and safety regulations in a modular configuration. Small reactors of various capacities and capable of rapid power manoeuvring have been used for many years to power submarines, aircraft carriers (U.S.A) and heavy duty ice breakers (Russia). Small reactors of many different designs are not new but the concept of designing  them for serial construction and collectively to comprise a large nuclear power plant is new. Read the rest of this entry »