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HomeWorld NewsCanada newsAlta., Ont., Sask. and N.B. signing agreement to explore small nuclear reactors

Alta., Ont., Sask. and N.B. signing agreement to explore small nuclear reactors

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Alberta is to join three other provinces to explore the feasibility of small modular nuclear reactors as a clean energy option.

Premier Jason Kenney will join Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs in signing a memorandum of understanding today related to exploring the feasibility of small-scale nuclear technology.

The virtual signing ceremony for the agreement is set to take place Wednesday at 10 a.m. MT.

In 2019, Ford, Moe and Higgs committed to collaborate on developing small modular reactor technology. The Alberta government announced in August that it would enter into the existing agreement. 

Alberta hopes to diversify energy sector

At the time, Kenney said signing on to the memorandum of understanding would help diversify Alberta’s energy sector and keep the province at the forefront of any future advancements in the technology. 

Kenney said the province hopes the nuclear technology will allow the government to provide power to remote communities, diversify the economy, create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Alberta says small modular reactors could supply non-emitting, low-cost energy for remote areas in the province as well as industries that need steam such as the oilsands.

The units are smaller than traditional nuclear reactors with lower upfront capital costs. 

Traditional nuclear reactors used in Canada can typically generate about 800 megawatts of electricity, or about enough to power 600,000 homes at once (assuming one megawatt can power about 750 homes).

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN organization for nuclear co-operation, considers a nuclear reactor to be small if it generates under 300 megawatts. 

The technology is also small enough that modules can be transported on a truck, ship or train, and has been touted by the federal government as safer than traditional nuclear reactors.

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