Canadian power company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) recently inked an agreement with the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to secure funding for the construction of what could be the country’s first small modular reactor (SMR) in a bid to address both the ongoing energy crisis and the government’s push towards green and renewable energy.
Worth approximately C$970 million, the funding will be used to finance the construction of a 300MW SMR beside the 3,500MW Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Clarington, Ontario over a ten-year period.
In a statement released to the media, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson stated that the agreement kicks off an initiative leading to the development of a non-emitting power grid, something that will pave the way towards a successful net-zero future for the country.
Wilkinson added that the construction and eventual deployment of the SMR at Darlington will not only mark a milestone in the history of power generation in Canada, but also cement the country’s leadership in the field of safe nuclear technology.
In addition to reducing emissions and providing sustainable power for much of Ontario province, the Darlington SMR is expected to generate much-needed employment for local citizens.
A Substantial Investment
In its own statement to the press, the CIB stressed the importance of SMRs when it comes to achieving carbon neutrality within the country, specifically the reduction of its total greenhouse gas emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030. Likewise, the facility is expected to spark similar projects in the nearby provinces of Alberta, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan.
The SMR initiative is the largest clean power investment the CIB has ventured into. Its CEO, Ehren Cory, stated that it is a visible sign of the bank’s support for technologies geared towards reducing harmful emissions, as well as those which could propel the country into becoming a center for modular nuclear technology.
What the Project Means for Canada
The Darlington SMR initiative is one of several initiatives the Canadian government lined up to meet its goal of weaning the country from dependence on fossil fuels. As a result, environmental and transportation experts expect that there will be a significant increase in the demand for electricity as people make the shift from gas-powered transport to electric vehicles.
That said, it is expected that the Darlington SMR will provide enough energy to fuel around 160,000 cars in total.
The Canadian government previously declared that it would work with local governments throughout the country to establish a Pan-Canadian Grid Council that seeks to promote investments into clean energy infrastructure, as well as the development of emergent power technologies like SMRs, geothermal plants, and even tidal generation.