As Canada advances toward a low-carbon economy, many forms of clean energy are needed to power the growing demand for clean, affordable, and reliable electricity. These include nuclear energy, which is non-emitting, consistent and safe. The next generation of nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors, will play an important role as Canada faces growing energy demands and is called upon to export our critical minerals and clean technologies to partners around the world.

In February, at the Canadian Nuclear Association's annual conference, Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources, launched the Enabling Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) Program. This program will promote the safe, commercial development of SMRs to contribute to our low-carbon economy and help fight climate change.

The new program will provide $29.6 million over four years, to:

β€’ develop supply chains for SMR manufacturing and fuel supply and security to support the crucial elements necessary for Canada's SMR industry to thrive; and
β€’ fund research on safe SMR waste management solutions to ensure that SMRs, and the waste they generate, will be safe now and into the future.

Eligible applicants could include private companies, utilities, provinces and territories, universities and Indigenous groups.

To bring affordable clean power to all Canadians and accelerate the development of a low-carbon economy, the Government of Canada has committed to working with the provinces and territories to enable deployment of SMRs.

SMRs offer a promising approach to support Canada's low-carbon energy transition. They are less complex, easier to operate and more affordable than new, large-scale nuclear technology. For example, a 300-megawatt small modular reactor could supply enough clean power for an estimated 300,000 homes. SMRs could support the decarbonization of provincial electricity grids and heavy-emitting industries and could help remote communities transition away from diesel power.

With over 70,000 hard-working Canadians employed across its supply chain, Canada's nuclear industry is well positioned to leverage its science and technology innovation to become a leader in the development and deployment of small modular reactor technology.

"As Canada advances toward a net-zero grid by 2035, growing our clean energy industries is a vital undertaking. Today's launch of the Enabling Small Modular Reactors Program is a step toward delivering more reliable, affordable and clean power to communities in regions across Canada. The Government of Canada is working with industries, workers, Indigenous partners and provinces and territories to enable development pathways, including through the Regional Energy and Resource Tables."
- The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources

Quick Facts

β€’ Budget 2022 allocated $29.6 million to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) over four years for research and development (R&D) to support the conditions and frameworks necessary for SMRs to displace fossil fuels and contribute to climate change mitigation.
β€’ Canada is already taking action. The Canada Infrastructure Bank provided $970 million in financing for the Darlington Small Modular Reactor, which will be one of the first commercial SMRs in the world.
β€’ On February 6, 2023, in partnership with NRCan, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) opened a call for proposals for SMR projects under its Alliance Grants program. Funding will support university applicants in their efforts to address waste generated from SMRs and develop SMR supply chains.
β€’ The NSERC call is complementary to NRCan's program and will generate new knowledge, enhance capabilities at Canadian universities and help train a new generation of nuclear scientists, engineers and policymakers.

SOURCE: Natural Resources Canada

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