Alberta Utility Capital Power Collaborates with Ontario Power Generation to Explore Nuclear Power Expansion

Capital Power Corp., an Alberta-based utility, has unveiled plans to construct the province’s first nuclear power reactor by 2035. The company, which currently relies on a diverse energy portfolio, including natural gas, wind, and solar, announced a strategic partnership with Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a major player in the nuclear energy sector.

Over the next two years, Capital Power and OPG will jointly evaluate the feasibility of building small modular reactors (SMRs) in Alberta. If the project proceeds, both companies may share ownership and operation responsibilities, according to OPG.

The decision to explore nuclear energy marks a significant shift for Alberta, where discussions about using reactors for industrial processes have been ongoing for years, though none have materialized. Premier Danielle Smith’s government has consistently shown interest in SMRs, collaborating with other provinces like Ontario, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick to develop a national plan for their deployment.

Avik Dey, CEO and President of Capital Power, emphasized the need for his company to reduce its greenhouse gas footprint and achieve its decarbonization goals. Dey stated in an interview, “It’s not so much about being first, but if we have an ambition to decarbonize our own fleet before 2045… it requires companies like us to step up. In my mind, if not us, then who?”

The collaboration also underscores OPG’s ambition to extend its nuclear expertise beyond Ontario. OPG, which currently operates 10 reactors in Ontario, is preparing to construct up to four BWRX-300s, a type of SMR developed by American vendor GE-Hitachi, at its Darlington Station in Clarington by 2028.

Ken Hartwick, OPG’s President and CEO, outlined the company’s focus on assisting Capital Power in identifying suitable nuclear plant sites in Alberta. He expressed OPG’s interest in potentially operating and partially owning the plant. “Is that 50 percent, 20 percent, 30 percent? Whatever it is, I think it’s something we have a high level of interest in doing,” said Hartwick.

While the collaboration signifies progress, some analysts remain cautious about the prospects of SMRs. Mycle Schneider Consulting, in its latest assessment of the global nuclear industry, termed the prospects for SMRs as “questionable at best.” It cited challenges faced by NuScale Power, a leading SMR developer, which recently terminated a major reactor project and announced layoffs.

Despite skepticism, Dey remains optimistic, emphasizing that SMRs are grounded in 50 years of established nuclear science. However, he acknowledged the need for collaboration with the government to establish nuclear rules and regulations in Alberta.

Hartwick echoed the belief that embracing nuclear power would benefit Canada’s entire nuclear industry, improving the supply chain ecosystem and reducing long-term operating costs.

Information for this briefing was found via The Globe And Mail 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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