Canada’s Kinectrics said on 7 June that it proposes to design, build and operate a world-class campus for innovation in clean energy, known as Helius. The focus of this campus will be on the development, testing, qualification and long-term support of clean energy technologies. This campus will be enabled by collaboration with Canada’s leading research institutions, industry, technology developers, and organisations focused on the future of global energy, with a common goal between collaborators of ensuring a clean, reliable, affordable low-carbon energy future. “Kinectrics is excited to be leading the way in supporting the development, testing and commercialisation of SMRs, providing the critical infrastructure required to accelerate their introduction around the world. This initiative will help to create long term jobs in Ontario,” said Kinectrics President and CEO David Harris.

Development of advanced small modular reactor (SMR) designs, including High Temperature Gas Reactors (HTGR), requires specialised infrastructure that is not currently available. Testing of reactor components, and large-scale experiments and models of product steam uses, are required to: assure performance and technology readiness of reactor components; develop reliable predictive models for design and safety analysis; demonstrate performance and qualification of systems and components; and mitigate technical, schedule, and project risk.

“There’s really no facility like Helius in Canada or in North America,” said Katherine Moshonas Cole, President of X-energy Canada. “Our Xe-100 SMR is a Generation IV HTGR. Helius will allow us to test the safety and performance requirements of our systems and components in high temperature environments. The facility will also enable us to demonstrate Xe-100’s high temperature steam for hydrogen production and direct industrial uses. These capabilities are critical for Canada’s plans for a net-zero future.”

Helius will include:

  • Flexible and adaptable facilities with collaborative space for R&D, testing, and scale-up of a variety of clean energy technologies;
  • Helium, molten salt, and steam loops with operating temperatures between 200°C to 1100°C;
  • District heating, greenhouse agriculture, and hydrogen generation and storage facilities

The proposed site of Helius is alongside the existing Kinectrics laboratories in Toronto, Ontario, creating one of the most comprehensive technology demonstration and testing facilities in the world. R&D facilities such as this provide opportunities for future generations of engineers, scientists and nuclear operators to study and train.

Helius will unite top-tier Canadian academic institutions, industrial leaders, SMr developers, and utilities to advance clean energy technologies that combat climate change and alleviate global energy poverty. The cornerstone of the campus is a 10 MW, electrically heated, helium test loop for the development, testing, and qualification of materials, components, and systems utilised in HTGRs. Secondary loops mimic the actual usage of technologies to be married with advanced nuclear reactors, including SMR technologies.

Collaborators include: X-energy: https, U-Battery, Énergie NB Power; Nuclear Innovation Institute; Ontario Tech University; McMaster University; Queen’s University; Planbox; and Natural Resources Canada.