Alberta Mirror

Monday, October 3, 2022

Oilsands firms are exploring nuclear power to decrease emissions

Alberta

Key takeaways: 

  • Pathways Alliance is peeking at small modular reactors to power the oil patch.
  • John Gorman, president, and chief executive of the Canadian Nuclear Association, states that oilsands are the biggest market for small modular reactors. 

The critical global need to cut emissions in the face of a growing climate situation is prompting renewed interest in nuclear power — and few areas more so than in Canada’s oilsands.

While using nuclear power to replace fossil fuels burned in oil production has been bandied for years, some specialists say the reality could be just a decade away. On paper, at least, there is more possibility to deploy small modular reactor (SMR) technology in the oil sands area of Alberta than anywhere else in the nation.

“Without a doubt, the oil sands is the largest market for small modular reactors in Canada,” stated John Gorman, president and chief executive of the Canadian Nuclear Association. “It’s something that some firms are very vigorously looking at.”

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The critical global need to cut emissions in the face of a growing climate situation is prompting renewed interest in nuclear power — and few areas more so than in Canada’s oilsands

Small modular reactors are a type of nuclear design far smaller than a conventional nuclear reactor. 

Between 10 and 300 MW of energy, SMRs are entirely scalable and created to be made economically in factory needs rather than on-site like a large-scale conventional reactor.

While SMRs are not yet commercially open, the technology is getting near. The International Atomic Energy Agency estimates that about 100 SMRs could operate worldwide by 2030. In Canada, four regions — New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta — have decided to collaborate on promoting SMRs as a clean energy alternative. Canadian researchers are working on new materials and designs that could cause SMRs practical in an extensive spectrum of new uses.

Source – CBC News

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