Companies partner to promote microreactor research in Canada

25 May 2022

McMaster University, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), and Global First Power (GFP) have announced a new partnership to advance research in small modular reactors (SMRs) for Canada. The three partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further examine the feasibility of deploying a Micro Modular Reactor (MMR) at McMaster University or an affiliated site.

Seattle-based USNC has developed the MMR technology for worldwide deployment. GFP is the partnership between USNC and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) that is deploying USNC's MMR technology in Canada. Both USNC and OPG are contributors to Canada's SMR Action Plan.

Dave Tucker, McMaster's assistant vice-president, research (nuclear) said the partnership builds on McMaster's rich nuclear expertise and follows on the University's contributions to Canada's SMR Action Plan. "Combining our capabilities with those of USNC and GFP will allow us to conduct life-cycle studies on the optimal utilisation of SMRs and train the next generation of experts that will build, operate, maintain, monitor and regulate these facilities."

GFP is developing Canada's first commercial demonstration SMR at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratory's (CNL) Chalk River site, where much of the research and training will take place, according to Dominique Minière, GFP's president and CEO.

"It's the most advanced SMR project in the country and, arguably, the Western world," said Minière. "Tapping into McMaster's talent pool of experts, building research collaborations and fostering student training initiatives will strengthen the position of Canada as a global leader in SMR deployment which is critical for addressing the global climate emergency," he said, adding that GFP's MMR Project at Chalk River is expected to be operational in 2027.

USNC's CEO Francesco Venneri said the GFP MMR project is a market-ready design, specifically designed for Canadian climates, and similar in size and power to McMaster's 5MW reactor. "Partnering with McMaster at this stage will be instrumental for training the next generation of leaders as we collectively investigate enhanced safety measures, cost structures, power utilisation, and waste management options," he said.

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