Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced it will work together with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to deploy a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) at the Darlington new nuclear site, the only site in Canada currently licensed for a new nuclear build.

OPG and GE Hitachi will collaborate on the SMR engineering, design, planning, preparing the licencing and permitting materials, and performing site preparation activities, with the mutual goal of constructing Canada’s first commercial, grid-scale SMR, projected to be completed as early as 2028.

“We know nuclear is a key proven zero emissions baseload energy source that will help us achieve net zero as a company by 2040, and act as a catalyst for efficient economy-wide decarbonization by 2050,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG’s President and CEO. “By moving forward, with our industry-leading technology partner GE Hitachi, on deployment of innovative technology for an SMR at Darlington, OPG is paving the way on the development and deployment of the next generation of nuclear power in Canada and beyond.”

The Darlington SMR will provide a critical new source of clean nuclear energy for Ontario’s future projected energy capacity needs – a demand widely expected to ramp up as transportation and other sectors electrify, using Ontario’s clean power to help decarbonize the broader economy. International bodies, including the International Energy Agency (IEA), have been clear: climate change initiatives will fall short without nuclear power as part of the electricity supply mix.

“We are so pleased to be working with OPG to bring SMR technology to life at Darlington,” said Jay Wileman, President and CEO, GE Hitachi. “This is a significant and concrete action in the fight against climate change that will also create jobs across Ontario and Canada as we leverage the robust and growing nuclear supply chain.”

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A single SMR of about 300 megawatts in size can prevent between 0.3 megatonnes (MT) to 2 MT of carbon dioxide emissions per year, depending on where it is located and what kind of power it is displacing.

Site preparation will begin in the spring of 2022, pending appropriate approvals. This work will include installation of the necessary construction services. OPG’s goal is to apply to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a License to Construct by the end of 2022.

“With today’s announcement, Ontario is leading the way in new nuclear technologies – like SMRs – that represent tremendous economic and environmental opportunities for our province and all of Canada,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “SMRs can provide reliable and emission-free energy while creating jobs, economic growth and export opportunities. Our opportunity to be a leader in this technology and showcase Ontario’s nuclear expertise to the world is right now.”

Featured image: (OPG)

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