Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and Global First Power (GFP) announced that GFP has selected a location at the Chalk River Laboratories to site its proposed Micro-Modular Reactor (MMR) project.

GFP is proposing to construct and operate a 15 megawatt thermal (MWth) (approximately 5 MW electrical) MMR plant at the Chalk River campus that would serve as a model for future small modular reactor (SMR) deployments to support remote and industrial applications. The demonstration reactor technology, developed by Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), is designed to provide a viable clean energy solution to displace fossil fuel use and support Canada’s climate change targets. The energy output of the MMR makes it well suited for application in off-grid remote communities and industrial sites.

“GFP is thrilled to stand alongside our partners today to mark this milestone toward meeting Canada’s clean energy goals,” said GFP president & CEO, Jos Diening. “This site, in full view of the Chalk River main campus, demonstrates the unique suitability of the MMR to become fully integrated into remote and industrial facilities and their operations. These are precisely the qualities that make advanced nuclear microreactors essential in decarbonizing beyond the electric grid. I am proud to lead this vision and welcome the support of so many along this important path forward.” 

“Today’s announcement represents our shared commitment to advancing clean energy technologies, which are critical in the fight against climate change,” said AECL vice president of Science, Technology and Commercial Oversight, Amy Gottschling. “The Chalk River Laboratories have been at the forefront of nuclear innovation for more than 70 years, and we continue to push the envelope, leveraging science to solve problems and benefit Canada and the world.”

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“This is an incredibly exciting day, not just for AECL, CNL and GFP, but for everyone across Canada who believes in the promise of nuclear energy,” added CNL president & CEO, Joe McBrearty. “Once constructed, this proposed reactor can demonstrate the economics, safety and performance of a new and exciting SMR technology, giving the public confidence in this next-generation nuclear solution. Overall, I believe that this location could go down in history as one of many at the Chalk River Laboratories where first-of-a-kind nuclear technologies were brought to life.”

The site of the proposed MMR demonstration reactor is currently a staff parking lot that will be repurposed to accommodate the new facility. By selecting this location, GFP will have good access to campus utilities and to CNL’s many technical and operational support services. The nearby site also has the potential to benefit CNL once the reactor is operational, who may be able to leverage the energy that is produced by the reactor in order to better operate the campus and conduct related research activities. 

GFP’s proposal is also subject to regulatory processes and requirements, which are independent of CNL’s rigourous review and evaluation process. GFP has submitted an application for a Licence to Prepare Site to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and an environmental assessment for the project is underway. 

Featured image: Senior leaders from AECL, CNL and Global First Power are joined by local elected officials, industry partners and other distinguished guests to unveil the site of GFP’s proposed small modular reactor at the Chalk River Laboratories. (CNL)

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