Alberta Signs Third Small Modular Nuclear Reactor Deployment Agreement

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and the Government of Alberta have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on the deployment of small modular reactor (SMR) technologies, including the Korean-designed SMART reactor, in the Canadian province.

KAERI President Joo Han-Gyu, Alberta Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Northern Development Brian Jean, and Alberta Minister of Trade, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Rajan Sawhney signed the MoU on April 19.

Since Alberta announced an “ambitious initiative” to deploy SMR technology with other Canadian provinces, KAERI and Alberta have considered renewable energy collaboration based on KAERI’s SMR technology, specifically the SMART (System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor).

“This mutual cooperation agreement was promoted to discuss the issue of applying SMART technology with almost no carbon emissions to supply necessary steam to oil sands (tar sands) mining areas in Alberta,” KAERI said.

SMART is a pressurized water reactor with inbuilt steam generators and sophisticated safety measures. It has a capacity of 330 MWt. The unit has a 60-year design life and a three-year refueling cycle and is intended for power generation (up to 100 MWe) as well as thermal applications such as seawater desalination.

While the basic concept is established, development has been slowed due to a lack of orders for an initial reference unit. SMART, which was developed by KAERI, gained standard design clearance from the Korean regulator in mid-2012. KAERI intended to construct a demonstration facility that would begin operations in 2017.

“The Government of Alberta is open to exploring all technologies, including SMRs, to help energy production thrive in a low-carbon future,” Jean said. “Through this agreement with KAERI, we are continuing to explore deploying SMR technology and strengthening Alberta’s position as a world-leading responsible energy producer for years to come.”

Invest Alberta, a Crown company of the Government of Alberta, signed an agreement with ARC Clean Technology Canada Inc last month to collaborate on efforts to enhance the commercialization of ARC’s ARC-100 SMR technology in the province.

This follows the signing of an MoU with X-Energy Canada in January to generate economic prospects supporting the prospective deployment of the Xe-100 SMR, as well as support for SMR producer Terrestrial Energy’s aspirations to expand into Alberta.

Alberta has previously been regarded as a potential location for large-scale nuclear power facilities, however a 1000 MWe electricity producing project proposed for the province’s north was scrapped in 2011. The province’s interest in SMRs stems from their potential as an economically appealing and carbon-free source of steam and process heat to support extractive sectors such as natural gas extraction from the province’s vast oil sands reserves.

Alberta is one of four Canadian provinces, along with New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, that have agreed to a common strategy plan indicating their strong support for the SMR way forward.

“Given it would be the private sector in Alberta that would need to pursue SMRs in a competitive marketplace, either for electricity generation or industrial applications, decision making in Alberta will be fundamentally different – with the private sector ultimately making the decision whether to invest in SMRs after weighing the relative merits,” the plan outlined.

Information for this briefing was found via World Nuclear News, Nuclear Engineering International, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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