Federal government Canada invests in small nuclear reactors to help it meet net-zero 2050 target

$20M investment will help preserve 186 jobs and create 52 co-op placements, says Ottawa.

The federal government says it’s investing $20 million in the nuclear industry to help Canada meet its target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The investment in Oakville Ontario’s Terrestrial Energy is meant to help the firm bring small modular nuclear reactors to market.

“By helping to bring these small reactors to market, we are supporting significant environmental and economic benefits, including generating energy with reduced emissions, highly skilled job creation and Canadian intellectual property development,” said Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains in a media statement.

Small modular reactors — SMRs — are smaller than a conventional nuclear power plant and can be built in one location before being transported and assembled elsewhere.

Atomic Energy of Canada Limited says it sees three major uses for SMRs in Canada:

  • Helping utilities replace energy capacity lost to closures of coal fired power plants.
  • Providing power and heat to off-grid industrial projects such as mines and oilsands developments. 
  • Replacing diesel fuel as a source of energy and heat in remote communities.

The reactor that Terrestrial Energy hopes to have in production by the end of the decade is an Integral Molten Salt Reactor. The company says the reactor can provide additional utility power and power for industrial projects. 

The company says that the reactor can produce up to 195 megawatts — enough to power a city the size of Regina — likely making it too powerful for use in remote communities.

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