Alberta among provinces considering nuclear energy

Aug 7 2020, 10:48 am

Alberta could be on its way to going nuclear.

A release from the Province of Alberta states that it has joined three other provinces in considering the use of small-scale nuclear technology in an effort to diversify Alberta’s energy options.

The four provinces will be exploring new, small-scale nuclear technology, also known as small modular reactors (SMRs), which, according to the release, are smaller than traditional reactors, have enhanced safety features, and cost less.

“Our government is exploring all opportunities that could help diversify our economy and create jobs for Albertans,” said Premier Jason Kenney in the release.

“We are building on our track record of responsible and innovative energy production by exploring the potential for small modular reactors, which have the potential to generate reliable and affordable energy, while also strengthening our traditional resource sectors and reducing emissions. We are excited to collaborate with our provincial partners to stay ahead of the game in the development of this promising technology.”

SMRs can generate upwards of 300 megawatts of electricity — enough to power a small city — while traditional reactors generate up to 1,000 megawatts.

The release notes that these reactors could be used to power remote and rural areas, as well as Alberta’s oil sands.

Canada produces roughly 15% of the world’s uranium, the release states, which is needed for nuclear reactions.

“Alberta’s rich uranium deposits, respected innovation and research sector, and technically skilled and educated workforce could make us an attractive destination to develop and deploy SMRs,” said Alberta’s Minister of Energy, Sonya Savage, in the release.

“By signing on to this agreement, our government is taking another step to attract investment and job creators to our province by ensuring we have the appropriate regulatory framework in place should private industry decide to pursue this emerging technology.”

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