Canada is turning to nuclear power to generate needed power, help offset carbon emissions, and meet its climate goals.
- Canada has approved financing a US$708-million construction on a grid-scale small modular reactor (SMR) in Darlington, Ontario.
- “The project, which is being developed by utility Ontario Power Generation (OPG), will be the first commercial grid-scale SMR in the Group of Seven wealthy nations (G7),” says Reuters.
- “We are doing this because nuclear energy—as a non-emitting source of energy—is critical to the achievement of Canada’s and the world’s climate goals … Nuclear power is one source that can help in reaching our climate targets while addressing growing future demand,” says Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.
- The country is seeking to meet the G-7’s goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions and even plans to cut emissions by as much as 45% by 2030.
- Nuclear power currently supplies 15% of Canada’s electricity and the new plant could power an additional 300,000 homes.
- OPG is hoping to complete construction on the SMR by 2030.
- “The reactors are designed by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, an alliance between General Electric Co. and Japan’s Hitachi Ltd,” says Reuters.
Why it’s Important
Nuclear power has rapidly become one of the most reliable power sources as major governments scramble to replace carbon-fuel sources.
“The energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine has renewed interest in nuclear power, and next-generation SMRs are seen as efficient, quicker to build, and a way to possibly accelerate the shift away from fossil fuel,” says Reuters.
Backing up a Bit
The majority of active nuclear reactors are several decades old and approaching the end of their planned operational lifespans. Very few new reactors are currently under construction and the existing ones will need to be revamped to extend their usability.
In the United States, plants are having their lifespans increased to help offset power demand during the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Inflation Reduction Act set aside $30 billion in tax credits for existing nuclear power plants in the United States. California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed extending the lifespan of his state’s last plant past its planned closure in 2025.