Joint venture set up for MMR demonstration in Canada

10 June 2020

Global First Power (GFP), Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) have announced the launch of a joint venture to build, own and operate a Micro Modular Reactor (MMR) at Canada’s Chalk River Laboratories.

The Global First Power Limited Partnership is owned equally by OPG and USNC-Power, the Canadian subsidiary of USNC. GFP will act on behalf of the partnership to oversee the proposed MMR and provide project development, licensing, construction and operation of the commercial demonstration reactor at Chalk River.

The MMR is a 15MWt, 5MWe high-temperature gas-cooled reactor, which uses prismatic graphite blocks of fuel and has a sealed transportable core. After 20 years, the spent core can be removed, and, if the site is to remain operating, a fresh core cartridge can be installed.

GFP, USNC and OPG have been collaborating on the Chalk River Project for several years. The MMR is in the third stage of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ (CNL) four-stage process to site a demonstration small modular reactor at Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario by 2026.

An environmental assessment for the MMR began in July 2019, and is currently underway. Subject to licensing and regulatory approvals, site preparation work could start in 2021. 

“The backing of OPG combined with USNC’s advanced reactor and fuel designs will allow us to continue to lead the way in delivering a small-reactor solution in Canada,” said Joe Howieson, CEO, Global First Power Ltd.

OPG, which is refurbishing its the four-unit Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, is collaborating with various SMR vendors to bring the reactors to Canada.

"We are excited about the advancement of low-carbon small modular reactors in Canada and see them as an innovative growth opportunity for our company, one that fits well with our existing clean energy portfolio," commented Ken Hartwick, OPG's president and CEO.

The partnership said the demonstration at Chalk River would "serve as a model for potential future GFP projects across Canada, to provide safe and sustainable low-carbon power and heat to industries, such as mining, and remote communities."

Photo: Chalk River site in Canada

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