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Opinion: Small modular reactors represent a significant opportunity for First Nations – National Post

Jul 24, 2023

SMRs represent an exciting opportunity to advance the social, environmental and economic interests of Indigenous communities

As we move towards a net-zero future, opportunities to increase the generation of emission-free electricity and industrial heat are becoming a key part of energy planning in Canada, particularly when it comes to the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs).

Ontario is planning to build four of them at its Darlington site, while Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta have all indicated intentions to develop their own projects. But while Canada is well positioned to become a leader in the development and deployment of SMRs, the extent to which they will receive support from Indigenous communities remains to be seen.

SMRs are advanced nuclear reactors that generate up to 300 megawatts per unit, about one-third that of traditional nuclear reactors. They promise to be smaller, easier to site, cheaper to finance and faster to build than conventional reactors, and their modular design permits on-site assembly at a lower cost than conventional reactors. Moreover, the passive safety mechanisms built into various SMR models significantly reduce the risk of accidents, and some models will have the potential to reduce nuclear waste by reusing spent fuel to generate electricity.

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