Canadian government launches SMR support programme

24 February 2023

The Canadian government has launched a programme to support the commercial development of small modular reactors (SMRs), providing CAD29.6 million (USD21.8 million) of funding over four years to develop supply chains for SMR manufacturing and fuel supply and security, and to fund research on safe SMR waste management solutions.

Julie Dabrusin announced the launch of the programme at the CNA's 2023 conference (Image: CNA)

The Enabling Small Modular Reactors Program was launched at the Canadian Nuclear Association's (CNA) annual conference by Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson.

"The safe and reliable clean energy provided by nuclear power is supporting us in removing coal and gas from the grid in Ontario and across Canada," Dabrusin said. "By investing in this next generation of nuclear technology, Canada can support its partners around the world in achieving their climate goals while exporting clean technologies and critical minerals like uranium to our global partners. This programme will help fight pollution and create sustainable jobs for generations to come."

Growing Canada's clean energy industries is vital as the country advances towards a net-zero grid by 2035, Wilkinson said: "Today's launch of the Enabling Small Modular Reactors Program is a step toward delivering more reliable, affordable and clean power to communities in regions across Canada."

Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) was allocated the funding for research and development to support the conditions and frameworks necessary for SMRs to displace fossil fuels and contribute to climate change mitigation, under the 2022 federal budget. NRCan's call for applicants is the latest federal move in support of SMRs: the Canada Infrastructure Bank has committed to CAD970 million in financing for the project to build an SMR at the Darlington site in Ontario, and earlier this month, in partnership with NRCan, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) opened a call for proposals to support SMR projects under its Alliance Grants program.

Applicants under the Enabling SMRs Program can request up to CAD5 million for R&D projects, with the programme providing up to 75% of the total project costs, or up to 100% for projects led by Indigenous applicants. The average funding for a project is expected to be between CAD500,000 and CAD2.5 million depending on the size, scope, timeline and leveraged funding.

The programme aims to support projects that will help to develop supply chains for SMR manufacturing and fuel supply and security to support Canada’s SMR industry, and to fund research on waste management solutions to ensure that SMRs, and the waste they generate, will be safe now and into the future. Eligible applicants could include private companies, utilities, provinces and territories, universities and Indigenous groups, NRCAn said.

The deadline for applications is 7 April.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News