FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government and NB Power are hosting a delegation from the Government of Saskatchewan and SaskPower as they explore the development and deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) to supply safe and reliable zero-emissions baseload power to residents and businesses in their province.

New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have been working together since December 2019 to advance SMRs in Canada and re-affirmed their collaboration in March 2022 as signatories of the Strategic Plan for the Deployment of Small Modular Reactors.

“Given our strong history of partnership and collaboration with Saskatchewan, it makes sense to continue to seek ways to work more closely together,” said Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland. “In New Brunswick, we have a strong commitment to play a leadership role nationally in SMRs and to ensure Canada is recognized as a global leader in emissions reduction. Nuclear energy is a key resource in the transition to a low-carbon future and our two provinces are well-positioned to lead this evolution.”

Under the strategic plan, New Brunswick is leading Stream 2 development of the Generation IV advanced SMR technology. In addition to the ability to produce safe and reliable clean energy, Generation IV advanced SMRs will also have the capability to generate high-temperature heat which is ideal for the decarbonization of industrial processes as well as the production of hydrogen.

“Canada has extraordinary potential to be an example of how SMRs can supply the clean and reliable baseload power needed to power our future,” said Saskatchewan’s minister responsible for SaskPower, Don Morgan. “New Brunswick has been an integral partner in developing the pan-Canadian SMR strategic plan, and Saskatchewan looks forward to continuing co-operation between our two provinces.”

The delegation from Saskatchewan will tour the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station to gain a deeper understanding of the requirements for operating in a nuclear environment. Holland will also update his counterpart on the progress being made in New Brunswick on SMR development. Currently there are two different SMR technologies under development at Point Lepreau by ARC Clean Energy and Moltex Energy.

ARC Clean Energy is developing an advanced Generation IV SMR, the ARC-100, a 100 MW liquid sodium-cooled fast reactor, which is expected to begin commissioning by 2029 and will be the first Generation IV Advanced SMR online in Canada. The reactor is based on the technology of the EBR-II fast-reactor at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois, which operated for 30 years.

SMRs are nuclear reactors that produce 300 megawatts of electricity or less. They can support large established grids, small grids, remote off-grid communities and resource projects. Because they are modular, SMR parts are factory-made and can be easily shipped around the world.

Holland said the provincial government is committed to the development and deployment of small modular reactors. This includes developing a manufacturing centre of excellence that will attract investment, create high-value jobs, and bring innovative, advanced manufacturing capabilities to New Brunswick which can be leveraged for export to global markets.