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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories seeks input on small modular reactor technology

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has begun a discussion around Small Modular Reactor (SMRs) technology in Canada, and the role that Canadian Nuclear Laboratories can play in bringing this technology to market, by launching a Request for Expressions of Interest on SMRs.

We intend to begin the generic site selection and licensing process for the first demonstration or prototype reactor later this year. At this preliminary stage, these activities will be technology neutral, and inclusive of all potential technologies. We need to hear from the broader SMR development community, to ensure that their needs are being captured.

—Kathryn McCarthy, Vice-President, Research & Development, CNL

Over the past decade, small modular reactors (SMRs) have increasingly been recognized as a potential alternative to large-scale nuclear reactors. This clean energy technology holds opportunities for Canada, particularly for remote communities or industrial sites, CNL proposes. SMRs may offer several advantages over traditional technologies, notably: the ability to purchase and construct in a modular way, decreasing up-front capital costs through simpler, less complex plants, and a reduced staff complement.

Designs can also bring greater efficiency and systems which are inherently safe. In addition to electricity generation, SMRs could be integrated in overall energy plans with applications as varied as district heating, co-generation, energy storage, desalination, or hydrogen production.

CNL is seeking input from SMR technology developers, potential end users, and any other interested parties and stakeholders, including potential host communities, unions, the nuclear supply chain, and research and academic institutions.

This Request for Expressions of Interest aims to build an understanding of the existing capabilities, technology gaps, needs and requirements both from technology developers and other stakeholders, and overall market interest, so that CNL can position itself as a key partner to the development and deployment of SMRs.

The Request for Expressions of Interest is open from 1 June to 31 July 31.



Unless REIs from USA and China are acceptable, the process may not go very far?

Nick Lyons

@HarveyD: Terrestrial Energy is an Ontario-based startup developing the IMSR (Integral Molten Salt Reactor), which scales down well into SMR size. I would expect them to be very interested in submitting an application.


Tar sands oil has an EROEI of between 5:1 for surface mining to 2.9:1 for in-situ methods like SAGD.  This suggests that something like a NuScale reactor could be just the thing.  160 MW(t), with say 30 MW(t) taken off by a topping cycle to generate electric power, would recover between 220 bbl/hr (SAGD) and 380 bbl/hr (surface), assuming 6.1 GJ/bbl.

5300 to 9200 bbl/day is pretty respectable.

One advantage of the NuScale reactor is that it's transportable.  You wouldn't want to move it with used fuel in it, but you could de-fuel it at the end of a 2-year fuel cycle and move the empty unit to a new site.  You'd leave the used fuel cartridges underwater in the cell left behind, probably inside an un-sealed dry cask inner shell.  After it was cool enough to be stored dry you'd just empty the water, weld on the top and stick it in the concrete overpack.


Why HarvyD and nick lyons have exactly the same smilly face ?

As Aha

goor: because they don't like you

Juan Valdez

I'm a fan of modular (read small, truck transportable) nuclear generators - they are like big batteries. If this helps bring them to market faster, I'm all for it.

From what I'm reading, in some SMRs the nuclear material can't be removed, the units are just shipped back to the factory when depleted. Also includes passive cooling so meltdowns can't happen. All good ideas.

Tech like this, with advanced wind and solar power, plus massive battery storage, should replace 100% of dirty energy in my lifetime - hopefully !!!


If nukes can be dispatchable energy, perhaps using supercritical CO2, then I like it. But if it becomes baseload that the grid has to be built around to justify the investment, then I am opposed. The future is clean, renewable, and variable.


Used Nuclear fuel cartridges safe disposal would quickly become a major problems. Money hungry operators would quickly try to dispose in our backyard to increase profits?

Large, small and mini NPPs to not have a favourable clean total cycle.


HarveyD: Gates and company are working on what is called a traveling wave reactor which will burn existing nuclear waste, depleted uranium, or natural uranium close to completion. See http://terrapower.com/pages/technology Apparently, we currently have enough depleted uranium stockpiled (in the US) to provide enough power for the next 700 years.

Money hungry operators would quickly try to dispose in our backyard to increase profits?

That's paranoia talking, Harvey.  Nobody's going to be able to dump a 3-meter wide concrete storage cask full of SNF anywhere and just walk away from it.  Do you seriously think they're not accounted for?

If nukes can be dispatchable energy, perhaps using supercritical CO2, then I like it. But if it becomes baseload that the grid has to be built around to justify the investment, then I am opposed.

Base load is load, the load that's always there.  The grid is built around the demand, not the supply.

The future is clean, renewable, and variable.

The hopium-smokers think that the grid can be completely re-prioritized to be driven by intermittent and unreliable supplies, with demand controlled to match.  So far this has been successfully done on an industrial scale precisely nowhere.  There are a few islands and remote outposts where almost all electricity is supplied by some combination of wind and PV, but it is only competitive with shipped in (or sometimes flown in) diesel fuel.  The energy is far too expensive to use it to make the very PV panels, wind turbines and batteries that the system requires.  It is a dead end.


Light water reactors are inherently unstable, work on Fast Reactors to use nuclear waste as fuel. We have 700 million tons of depleted uranium already mined and processed.


Bloody hell, you nitwit.  LWRs have very broad regions of stability; that's why they work.  Between Doppler broadening and under-moderation, they are operated in regions of negative temperature and void coefficients by design.

Try learning something before you mouth off.


For well known reasons, more existing NPPs will be closed than new ones opened, as least for the next 10-25 years. China may be the exception.

Mini, factory built, transportable/movable, safe NPPs may be a possibility by 2040/2050?


Mini, factory built, transportable/movable, safe NPPs may be a possibility by 2040/2050?

More likely by 2020/2025

NuScale Power, LLC announced today (March 15, 2017) they received notification that NuScale’s first-ever Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Design Certification Application (DCA) was accepted for review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The first commercial NuScale power plant is planned for construction on the site of the Idaho National Laboratory for the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and operated by experienced operator Energy Northwest.

This first system (which I believe is for 12 units) is already sold and will be placed where there are no NIMBYs to complain. Also note that these systems are "walk away" safe.

Conservative estimates predict approximately 55-75 GW of electricity will come from operating SMRs around the world by 2035, the equivalent of more than 1,000 NuScale Power Modules.

For more info see nuscalepower.com


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