Canadian partnership for microreactor deployment

20 March 2024

Prodigy Clean Energy and Des Nëdhé Group - an Indigenous Economic Development Corporation - have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop opportunities to power remote mines and communities in Canada using Prodigy microreactor Transportable Nuclear Power Plants.

Conceptual illustration of Prodigy’s Microreactor Power Station TNPP. Variant is marine transported and coastally installed on land (Image: Prodigy)

Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU), Prodigy and Des Nëdhé will explore potential Transportable Nuclear Power Plant (TNPPs) projects, and engage with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis across Canada, identifying ways in which Indigenous Peoples could have ownership in TNPP new builds, and how an Indigenous workforce could take a leading role in TNPP commercialisation and strategic infrastructure development.

"This collaboration represents a significant step forward in increasing opportunities for economic reconciliation, and expanding Indigenous leadership in Canada's clean energy transition," Prodigy said.

According to Prodigy, "The potential for innovation and growth in the North is limitless. Boasting nearly 40% of Canada's land mass, thousands of kilometres of rugged coastline and meandering rivers, vast reserves of metals and minerals, rich Indigenous culture and traditions, and some of the best spots in the world to watch the Northern lights, remote regions of Canada and the North are ripe for economic development."

However, it added: "‍The missing piece needed to actualise Northern industrial growth is abundant supply of clean and affordable energy ... Poor energy infrastructure and subsequent limited access to essential services and resources have created a cycle of disenfranchisement for generations - and more recently, climate-affected changes to the environment increasingly threaten Indigenous cultural traditions and opportunities for sustainable local economies."

Montreal-based Prodigy said that deploying microreactor TNPPs will "not only revolutionise the Northern energy landscape, but also catalyse economic reconciliation by supplanting historic reliance on diesel."

The Prodigy Microreactor Power Station TNPP, which can integrate different types of microreactors, would be manufactured, outfitted, and partially commissioned in a shipyard, then transported to site for installation either on land or in a marine (shoreside) setting. Prodigy is collaborating with Westinghouse to develop a TNPP outfitted with the Westinghouse eVinci microreactor.

The eVinci microreactor is described as a "small battery" for decentralised generation markets and for microgrids, such as remote communities, remote industrial mines and critical infrastructure. The nominal 5 MWe heat pipe reactor, which has a heat capability of 14 MWt, features a design that Westinghouse says provides competitive and resilient power as well as superior reliability with minimal maintenance. The Prodigy Microreactor Power Station can integrate a single or multiple eVinci microreactors.

Mathias Trojer, president and CEO of Prodigy Clean Energy, said: "Prodigy's microreactor TNPP offers a near-term solution to transition remote locations off of diesel. Meeting Indigenous Peoples' requirements for TNPP design and energy delivery, and ensuring maximal participation of Indigenous groups as part of our technology development and commercialisation programmes, are cornerstone to our success. We are privileged to partner with Des Nëdhé to put these objectives into action."

"Ensuring a secure, carbon-free, and affordable electricity and heat supply for all of Canada is crucial, and SMRs will play a significant role," said Sean Willy, Des Nëdhé Group president and CEO. "Des Nëdhé is proud to partner with Prodigy, as their TNPP technologies address many of the upfront concerns that Indigenous groups have when considering a potential SMR project. This includes minimising the environmental impact and reducing the project life cycle complexity and cost, when compared to a traditional site-constructed SMR. The end use opportunity for TNPPs across remote industrial and residential power in Canada is very significant."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News