NuScale’s mission is to provide scalable advanced nuclear technology for the production of electricity, heat, and clean water to improve the quality of life for people around the world. The company works to create an energy source that is smarter, cleaner, safer, and cost competitive.
We spoke to Nuscale about the future of nuclear energy as a sustainable source of power, and the unique investment opportunities that Ontario and Durham Region provide for companies in the energy innovation sector, such as Nuscale.
- Nuclear power has been around for several decades, but in recent years the popular emergence of small modular reactors (SMRs) has buoyed the future of nuclear energy. What are SMRs, and why are they having a moment and gaining traction in the U.S. and Canada?
Small Modular Reactor (SMR) generally refers to a nuclear reactor that is smaller (app. in the size range from 50 MWe to 300 MWe) than a reactor found in a traditional nuclear power plant, is able to be fully fabricated in a factory, offers innovative features and functionality, including the benefit of increased flexibility in size, design, and output (load following), as compared to traditional nuclear reactors and improved safety performance. SMRs all have variable capabilities. NuScale has the only U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-approved SMR design for the operation of flexible, safe, and zero carbon small modular nuclear energy reactor. For Ontario, our design is small and nimble enough to adjust the output from the facility to integrate with renewables and match peak consumption, resulting in a more resilient and stable electricity system for customers.
We believe that SMR technologies are gaining attention because of the significant potential for the economic and environmental benefits it offers. SMRs can play an impactful role in mitigating climate change as a non-emitting energy source during a time when governments around the globe, including in the U.S. and Canada, are making climate commitments. Furthermore, the economic benefits are substantial. NuScale’s smart and simplified fully factory-built design that eliminates in-field construction, erection or fabrication of the nuclear steam supply system and containment vessel reduces construction costs and schedule, and minimizes operational costs, supporting a broad range of budgets while still meeting expanding energy needs.
We are excited about the continued significant global interest in SMRs and estimate the market size to be over $100 billion by 2035.
- Post-pandemic, we’re working towards building back better in the Toronto Region. A critical component of this is building back greener. What’s the role for nuclear power and SMRs in the fight against climate change?
Many studies have shown that achieving climate goals simply cannot be done without nuclear energy as part of the equation. Non-emitting resources like solar, wind and hydro power along with nuclear have an important role to play in mitigating climate change. Adding our reliable, flexible, carbon-free energy to the mix provides a complement to Ontario’s fleet of renewable generators, which can make a real difference in achieving climate and emission targets – including Canada’s clean energy goals of achieving 90 percent of electricity coming from non-emitting sources by 2030.
Our plants produce no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, all wastes are accounted for and managed during the entire life cycle of the plant, and a suitable fund is maintained by regulation to pay the cost to decommission the facility at the end of its life. NuScale’s plants have exceptional load following capabilities for grid systems that integrate intermittent wind, solar, and hydro-electric generation, adding the flexibility needed to maintain grid stability no matter the time of day, season, or weather. In a province such as Ontario, where there are already predictions for greater energy demand on the horizon, we believe NuScale’s SMR solution is an ideal fit for building a greener, cleaner economy.
- Ontario is a global leader in nuclear power, with almost 60% of the province’s electricity generated by nuclear in 2020. What are some of the unique advantages that Ontario provides businesses in the nuclear energy sector, and how may it benefit NuScale and other companies investing in the nuclear power supply chain?
Canada, and specifically Ontario, has a long history as a world-class leader in nuclear operations with deep operational experience and a well-established supply chain. NuScale is excited about the opportunity to add value to the Ontario market and become a part of this history and experience. We have established engagements with key Canadian stakeholders that we value greatly, including Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Bruce Power. Building onto and continuing to engage the well-established Ontario supply chain that has been instrumental in the success of the Major Component Refurbishment Projects at OPG and Bruce Power is a win-win for those interested in the long-term economic activity in the region.
NuScale’s engagement with these and other interested stakeholders in Canada reflect a growing enthusiasm across the country for the unique features, capability, and performance of our SMR technology that can meet current and future demand for carbon-free energy. We also see a direct alignment with our smaller power plant solutions designed to give customers more options in terms of size, power output, operational flexibility, and cost, ideal for Ontario’s remote off-grid communities, industrial and government facilities, and customers with clean air mandates.
We maintain strong momentum toward commercialization of our SMR technology and believe that the Ontarian and Canadian markets are well-aligned for implementing our world-class technology.
- As a leader in SMR technology and with Durham Region being a hub of nuclear and energy innovation, how does NuScale hope to invest in Durham Region and contribute to the local ecosystem?
Together with our majority owner, Fluor, NuScale has developed an extensive supply chain in Canada for serving both Canadian and global customers. Fluor Canada already invests over $2B annually in Canada supporting projects in eight provinces and territories, with offices in four of those locations including Ontario. Fluor also has extensive partnerships within the province, including supporting Ontario Power Generation (OPG), providing procurement and construction support as part of its refurbishment of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station and working with the Canadian National Energy Alliance, managing and operating Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.
Additionally, the results of a recent in-house study estimates that localization capability in Canada for NuScale-supplied equipment is greater than 80 percent, including substantial opportunity for nuclear suppliers in Ontario. Durham Region, with its longstanding history and experience in the nuclear sector, is an excellent example of how our local supply chain integration and capabilities can work positively with the innovations already at play in the region to enhance economic benefits and growth.