Chalk RiverCanadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) announced that four small modular reactor (SMR) project proponents have submitted responses to its invitation for SMR Demonstration Projects at a CNL-managed site. 

The invitation, which began with an optional pre-qualification stage, is an opportunity for CNL to evaluate technical and business merits of proposed designs, assess the financial viability of the projects, and review the necessary national security and integrity requirements. CNL concluded the first intake on 11 June with responses received from four international and domestic SMR project proponents. CNL said, although this intake is now closed, “technology developers are welcome to submit their responses at any time”. 

CNL has identified SMRs as one of seven strategic initiatives it is pursuing as part of a long-term strategy, with the goal of siting an SMR on one of the sites it manages by 2026. The company is working to demonstrate the commercial viability of SMRs and position itself as a global hub in SMR  testing and technology development support. 

“The reactor designs being proposed are both evolutionary – building on the strengths of past nuclear technologies – and revolutionary, with innovative advances in efficiency, safety and technical design,” said Corey McDaniel, CNL’s vice president of business development. The Invitation for SMR demonstration projects includes four stages. Following the optional pre-qualification stage, which will assess proponents against preliminary criteria, applicants must complete the due diligence stage, which will include more stringent financial requirements and a full assessment of funding and project costs. The third phase, negotiation of land arrangement and other contracts, would culminate in the signing of an agreement with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the owner of the sites. Finally, the project execution stage would include licensing and construction, testing, commissioning, operation, and eventual decommissioning of the SMR unit.

CNL is currently performing generic siting studies at its Chalk River Laboratories and Whiteshell Laboratories to identify the potential locations suitable for construction of SMR demonstration units. Meanwhile, CNL so continues to engage with stakeholders and members of its local communities, to gather their input and feedback on hosting a demonstration project.

Photo: Chalk River is one site for potential small modular reactors (Photo: CNL)