The New Brunswick Energy Solutions Corporation has announced the participation of Moltex Energy in the nuclear research cluster that will work on research and development on small modular reactor technology.
“We are positioning New Brunswick as a leader in small modular reactor development and deployment in Canada on a global scale,” said Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet. “We are looking to grow our economy while we transition to a lower-carbon environment, and partners like Moltex have the ability to make advancements in the energy sector.”
Moltex will commit $5 million to operations and research in New Brunswick and establish an office in Saint John.
“The Moltex stable salt reactor technology is a perfect fit for New Brunswick’s power needs,” said Moltex CEO Stephen Haighton. “It uses spent nuclear fuel, which could help solve the province’s future spent-fuel disposal challenge. It is a physically small modular reactor but is able to store energy, so can double or triple its output at peak demand times during the day. Most importantly, the stable salt reactor technology produces very low-cost, clean energy and can reduce the cost of electricity to consumers while achieving low-carbon targets. We are very excited to join our new partners and establish our North American headquarters in New Brunswick.”
The goal of advanced small modular reactor technology is to help develop safe, secure, clean, and affordable nuclear energy. The long-term vision is to build a commercial demonstration small modular reactor plant at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station. Additionally, new advancements in energy generation, such as small modular reactors, are meant to complement the gains and partnerships being made through the province’s smart grid initiatives.
“This represents the second significant private sector partner in nuclear technology, research and potential development to join the recently established nuclear research cluster at the University of New Brunswick,” said NB Power president and CEO Gaëtan Thomas. “It shows that, here in New Brunswick, we can be leaders in developing energy solutions that will not only help meet energy needs but provide great opportunities for development and exports.”
The provincial government recently announced a commitment of $10 million towards the nuclear research cluster.
Small nuclear modular reactors are the next generation of nuclear technology that are typically scaled for designs with an output of between five and 300 megawatts, although the Moltex stable salt reactor scales up to 1,000 megawatts if a particular application warrants the increased size.
The benefits of a Moltex stable salt reactor include its ability to produce low-cost clean energy and reduce environmental impacts by using spent fuel. It could also be helpful in providing backup capacity as more renewable generation becomes available in the Maritimes.