Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland. File Image: Submitted/Government of New Brunswick

N.B. provides SMR expertise to Saskatchewan

By Scott Pettigrew Apr 18, 2023 | 6:00 PM

Technology from Saint John’s ARC Clean Technology has been identified as “a potential technological solution to advance industrial decarbonization in Saskatchewan.”

The ARC-100 small modular reactor (SMR) was identified by the Government of New Brunswick as technology of interest for industrial applications as it signed a memorandum of understanding regarding nuclear technology with the province of Saskatchewan.

“This formalizes where we’re going to begin a deliberate process of identification of opportunity,” says Natural Resources Minister Mike Holland.

“Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have established a strong working relationship on SMR development over the years,” said Don Morgan, minister of Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan in a press release.

“This renewed partnership will bring mutual benefit to both provinces by capturing opportunities stemming from the work on nuclear energy development across Canada and internationally. Together, we can accelerate the progress of decarbonizing power grids and industrial facilities using SMR technologies.”

Holland says the province and the utility will all be working together with their counterparts in Saskatchewan.

“Saskatchewan has been here.. they’ve toured [Point Lepreau]. And we’ll be out there,” he says.

“We’re going to very deliberately and intentionally walk out the objectives outlined in the MOU, so that as we’re developing the technology, we can be identifying the opportunity so that when we hit the intersection of opportunity and preparedness, we’re all ready to go.”

The memorandum “provides the ability for the two provinces and their utility Crowns, SaskPower and New Brunswick Power, to formally share experiences, knowledge and successes on deployment plans, supply chain development, Indigenous relations, labour market development, regulations and other areas,” says the government of Saskatchewan press release.

“This announcement is a further testament to the growing support from multiple markets that aSMR technology, like the ARC-100, is vital to the path to net zero for heavy industry.  Last month, ARC and Invest Alberta announced that they will jointly pursue commercialization of the ARC technology in support of emissions reductions plans for the province of Alberta.  In December 2022, the Port of Belldune in New Brunswick announced that it will pursue ARC technology as an energy source for expanded hydrogen production and other industries based at the Port,” says director of corporate services, Sandra Donnelly in an email exchange with Huddle.

“SaskPower has already selected a generation three+ reactor [GE-Hitachi] for their utility use, and now they want a reactor for industrial applications. As we’ve said, ARC’s technology fits extremely well for both electric utility use and industrial steam production, due to our high heat output. These attributes put the ARC-100 on a very short list of generation four advanced small modular reactors that can meet the needs of decarbonization.”

“We’ve identified several industrial processes that can leverage the ARC-100 and over recent months our team has been responding to strong interest from business, government, and regulators.  ARC is extremely pleased that the Province of Saskatchewan, a global player in the mining industry, recognizes the potential of our technology to support the clean energy transition in that province,” says ARC president and CEO Bill Labbe.

SMRs are ideal for helping provinces achieve not only energy security but net zero emissions via their “capability to generate high-temperature heat which is ideal for the decarbonization of industrial processes as well as the production of hydrogen,” according to the press release announcing the MOU.

Holland says the ARC-100 technology was specifically mentioned because of the commitment in the MOU between the provinces to work collaboratively to identify areas in the industrial sector for decarbonization “for the purpose of converting an emitting source of energy to a non-emitting source”.

This MOU comes after the agreement signed in 2019 between New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Ontario and later Alberta, which committed those provinces to work together to support ARC in its development of unique nuclear SMR technology.

That initial agreement came with a promise from the province to set aside room at Point Lepreau to accommodate at least two demonstration reactors from ARC.

Following that agreement, the provinces collaborated on “A Strategic Plan for the Deployment of Small Modular Reactors”. That plan identified seven benefits for the participating provinces: Expected benefits for electricity systems and ratepayers; Emissions reductions; Enhanced economic activity; Potential for Indigenous partnerships; Potential for innovation and enhancing research capabilities; Potential for global export; Export of carbon-free electricity.

“I feel like New Brunswick has always been a leader [in clean energy] nationally.  Since 2005 we’ve reduced our emissions by almost 40 per cent, and we generate over 80 per cent of our electricity now through non emitting means,” says Holland.

“Adding the SMR non emitting source of clean, reliable energy to the mix only stands to further entrench us as a world leader…we feel like we’re poised very well.  We have been a first mover on this file, and this will allow us to continue to keep up that pace and be a significant source and supplier to non-emitting energy not just in New Brunswick or in Canada, but the entire globe.”

SMRs have a number of benefits such as use in remote off-grid areas, or for supporting established grids. They produce about 300 megawatts of electricity and can generate enough green energy to support 300,000 homes for a year.

Alex Graham is a reporter with Huddle, an Acadia Broadcasting content partner.


Leave a Reply