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    Small Reactors Could Power Far North Mines

  • Jun 23, 2021

    Very small modular reactors (vSMRs) could provide clean, economic and reliable power and heat to remote northern mines and surrounding communities, reducing or eliminating reliance on diesel, according to a recent study completed by Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), and Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation, and Applied Research Corporation (MIRARCO).

    The feasibility study found that the most economical energy mix was for vSMRs to provide 90 per cent of the baseload power required for mining operations and associated uses, with only peak demand periods managed through use of diesel generation, reducing emissions by 85 per cent. Emissions could be lowered further by adding other renewables to the mix, decreasing the diesel component, at a slightly increased cost.

    Advantages of a vSMR, producing less than 10 megawatts of power, include:

    • Their small size, making them easier to transport and install in remote communities, and scalable to meet changing needs;
    • Their ability to safely, reliably produce power;
    • Long operating life without the need for an onsite inventory of fuel; and,
    • Short installation period due to their modular construction and factory fabrication.

    Global First Power, a joint venture between OPG and USNC-Power, is the most advanced vSMR project in Canada. The project recently received Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) approval to begin a technical review. Subject to federal government financial support, the next step in the process is to construct a demonstration vSMR at CNL's Chalk River campus.

    This demonstration project will serve as a model for future SMR deployments as called for in Canada's SMR Roadmap and Action Plan, by producing competitively-priced clean energy ideally sized for remote communities and heavy industry such as mining and resource projects.

    Quick Facts

    • Nuclear technology, including SMRs, will play a key role in meeting federal and provincial climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals.
    • SMRs are defined as producing up to 300 MW of power, while vSMRs produce up to 10 MWs of power per module.
    • Small modular reactors are more flexible than conventional reactors, better enabling them to work within a diverse energy grid alongside intermittent technologies such as solar or wind. They can also be used for applications like process heat or hydrogen production, which help enable further industrial sector decarbonization.
    • Global First Power's project is the most advanced SMR project in Canada.
    • In 2018, CNL launched an invitation process, inviting SMR vendors to indicate their interest in siting a demonstration reactor at a CNL-managed site. There are currently four projects in various stages of this process.
    • There are 10 off-grid operating mines in Canada. Most are served by diesel generators, which offer reliable, fast-acting, easy-to-vary output but are GHG-emitting.

    About OPG
    As a global climate change leader and the largest, most diverse electricity generator in the province, OPG and its family of companies are helping lead the charge to a post-carbon economy.

    About CNL
    Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is a world leader in nuclear science and technology offering unique capabilities and solutions across a wide range of industries. Actively involved with industry-driven research and development in nuclear, transportation, clean technology, energy, defence, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally.

    About MIRARCO, Mining Innovation
    MIRARCO, or Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation, and Applied Research Corporation, has been providing innovative solutions for mining industry challenges since our inception in 1998. We are a not-for-profit research arm of Laurentian University, Canada's Mining University. Our team of talented academic and industry professionals offers expertise for applied research in: Rock Mechanics, Safety, Decision Support Software, and Energy.

    SOURCE: Ontario Power Generation Inc.

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  • Product Showcase

    Hammond Power Solutions (HPS) has a new addition to their line of power quality products – HPS Centurion P Passive Harmonic Filter.

    It is specifically engineered to mitigate harmonic currents created by non-linear loads. The initial product release has ratings from 5 to 500 horsepower. It improves power quality by simultaneously reducing harmonics and improving true power factor, resulting in an efficient and reliable solution.

    Get an easy, flush receptacle installation in new concrete with Arlington's FLB6230MBLR Cover Kit. It fits most manufacturers' 4-1/2" concrete boxes, including Arlington's FLBC4500 and FLBC4502 boxes. This LISTED kit includes a 6" brass cover with flip lids, gaskets, receptacle AND a leveling ring. Also available nickel-plated.

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  • Product Safety Alert