I’m sure my views had nothing to do with it, but I am very pleased to see that Doug Ford (Ontario), Blaine Higgs (New Brunswick) and Scott Moe (Saskatchewan) have all agreed to get behind a project to develop safe, responsible, über-green nuclear energy. The technology they will sponsor is the small modular reactor (SMR) technology.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is quoted as saying that “adding nuclear power to his province’s energy mix while augmenting renewables and slashing coal-fired plants would reduce emissions caused by electricity generation to a net-zero by 2050.” Right now, “According to the National Energy Board [same link, above] 84 percent of Saskatchewan’s electricity is generated burning coal and natural gas …[while] … Conversely, 90 percent of Ontario’s electricity demands are met with zero carbon-emitting sources; nuclear (58 percent), hydro (22 percent) and approximately 10 percent via wind and solar …[and] … New Brunswick’s energy palette is somewhere in between as the province still generates 40 percent of its electricity through burning coal and natural gas.” Clearly, nuclear is the right answer and the new SMR reactors are highly suited for use in small towns and remote communities.
Small Modular Reactors have been with us for decades … the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine was laid down in the early 1950s, based on 1940s technology. Canada has been a leader in nuclear power since the same 1940s.
One of the complaints about Alberta’s oil sands is the amount of energy needed to extract the oil, proper, from the shale. One of the proposed applications for small modular reactors is for “On- and off-grid combined heat and power for heavy industry. Oilsands producers and remote mines would benefit from medium-term options for bulk heat and power that would be more reliable and cleaner than their current energy sources. Small or medium SMRs are likely to fit this need.” In other words, clean nuclear power will make oil sands petroleum cleaner than it is now, depriving the Rockefeller and Tides Foundations of one of their arguments for landlocking Alberta’s oil for America’s financial benefit.
Nuclear power needs to be a large part of the planet’s energy future. No matter what Greta Thunberg and her friends might think we are not going to ask 8 Billion people to revert to 17th-century subsistence farming because that would mean that 7 Billion people would die of starvation. Canadian nuclear power should be a significant part of the process of weaning the world (especially China and India) off coal and, thereby, mitigating the impact of greenhouse gasses on global climate change. Canadian nuclear power can also make Canadian oil greener and easier to export, also reducing the demand for coal. So, well done to Premiers Ford, Higgs and Moe for moving Canada a bit farther down the road in the right direction.