SAINT JOHN (GNB) - The provincial government has committed $10 million to help establish New Brunswick as a leader in the field of research and development of small modular reactor (SMR) technology.

The funding will help the New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation develop a nuclear research cluster in the province.

“Your government sees energy as a way to grow our economy,” said Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet. “We are interested in the further development of expertise and a workforce related to non-carbon emitting technology.”

Doucet said there is increasing interest in the potential for SMR technology and said the province is well-placed geographically, and through existing nuclear infrastructure and expertise, to play a role in the growth of this sector.

“New Brunswick needs to broaden its participation in new and emerging sectors,” said David Campbell, chair of the New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation. “An opportunity like this is one that this province is already well-positioned to accelerate. We already operate a conventional Candu 6 nuclear reactor and we could capitalize from the synergies that already exist in our nuclear sector.”

“At NB Power we have consistently been leaders in innovation in our nuclear facility, generation and transmission. In fact, the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station has just marked its best operational and fiscal performance since 1994,” said Gaëtan Thomas, president and CEO of NB Power. “We are pleased to continue this momentum with research that will be carried out into small modular reactors and we are confident this effort will yield employment and revenue to the Province of New Brunswick.”

“This is welcome news,” said William Cook of the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research (CNER) at the University of New Brunswick. “We have been involved in advanced nuclear reactor research and development for several years and this is another step that will help the university and CNER build upon our expertise and enhance our facilities and capabilities.”

The Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station has been a key, non-carbon emitting base load asset for the electricity sector in New Brunswick and the Atlantic region.

The provincial government and NB Power are partners in the development of Natural Resources Canada’s roadmap for small modular reactors.