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:
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.
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.
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.