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Interprovincial Planning for SMR Deployment in Canada

Published on
March 28, 2022

Earlier this afternoon, four energy Ministers representing Ontario (Minister Todd Smith), New Brunswick (Minister Mike Holland), Saskatchewan (Minister Dan Morgan), and Alberta (Minister Sonya Savage) held a press conference in Regina to release their Strategic Plan for the Deployment of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). 

As you may recall in December 2019, Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work together in advancing SMR development. Alberta subsequently became a signatory in April 2021. The plan envisions a three-stream approach to jointly developing the sector's full potential:

  • Stream 1: Grid-scale SMR deployment - a 300 MW unit to be constructed by GE-Hitachi at the Darlington nuclear site in Ontario by 2028. 
  • Stream 2: Advanced, fourth-generation SMRs - two of which will be developed at Point Lepreau, New Brunswick by 2029, with a spent fuel recovery system to be in operation by the early-2030s. 
  • Stream 3: A new class of micro-SMRs, or Micro-Modular Reactors (MMRs), including a 5 MW demonstration project to be in service by 2026 at Chalk River, Ontario by Global First Power. 

The plan released today substantially expands upon additional dimensions of SMR deployment, including development of regulatory frameworks, financing, nuclear waste management, as well as public engagement and Indigenous participation.

There was a particular spotlight today on Saskatchewan's Dan Morgan, with SaskPower currently evaluating three short-listed SMR technologies for deployment in the province, as part of Stream 1 of the interprovincial MOU. They are expected to announce their selection within the coming weeks.

This will likely see up to four modules of utility-scale SMRs deployed in the early 2030s to displace 1,200 MW of coal-fired generation, as part of the 2050 net-zero targets. During the Q&A, Minister Morgan acknowledged that the municipalities of Estevan or Coronach would viable locations given their existing coal infrastructure, but affirmed that a final decision has yet to be made and would require extensive consultation. He further expressed that with initial cost of up to $5 billion per SMR, he was looking to the federal government for financial support - in particular, citing the pressures of a rising carbon tax. Calls for greater alignment and increased investments from Ottawa were recurring themes in all four of the Ministers' remarks. 

Sussex will continue monitoring these important developments and provide regular updates. Please feel free to contact our team if you have any questions or would like to learn more about Canada’s nuclear industry.

Happy to Help.

Sussex looks forward to providing regular updates as policy development gets underway, please don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our team for additional information and support.

Chris Benedetti, Managing Partner


Devin McCarthy, Senior Vice President and Federal Practice Group Lead


Bonnie Hiltz, Vice President and Energy Practice Group Lead


Mark Olsheski, Vice President


Alex Simakov, Senior Associate


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