The Canadian government is investing CAD20 million (USD15 million) of federal funds to accelerate development of Terrestrial Energy's Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) power plant. Small modular reactors (SMRs) are expected to play a key role in the country's efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and in providing economic benefits as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Government of Canada supports the use of this innovative technology to help deliver cleaner energy sources and build on Canada’s global leadership in SMRs," said Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains. "By helping to bring these small reactors to market, we are supporting significant environmental and economic benefits, including generating energy with reduced emissions, highly skilled job creation and Canadian intellectual property development."
"SMRs are a game-changing technology with the potential to play a critical role in fighting climate change, and rebuilding our post COVID-19 economy," Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O'Regan said.
The funding is being made through Canada's Strategic Innovation Fund and will help Terrestrial Energy to complete a key pre-licensing milestone with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), the company said. As part of the investment, Terrestrial Energy has committed to creating and maintaining 186 jobs and creating 52 "co-op" positions nationally.
"The Government of Canada is progressing with clear purpose to national deployment of SMRs, and it recognises the great industrial and environmental rewards from nuclear innovation today," said Terrestrial Energy CEO Simon Irish. "We thank Ministers Bains and O'Regan for their vision, leadership, and partnership as we advance our programme to deliver affordable and cost-competitive nuclear energy to Canadian industry and households using Generation IV reactor innovation."
Molten salt reactors use fuel dissolved in a molten fluoride or chloride salt, which functions as both the fuel (producing the heat) and the coolant (transporting the heat away and ultimately to the electricity generating equipment). An IMSR power plant will generate 195 MWe, fuelled using standard-assay low-enriched uranium, and builds on 50 years of molten salt reactor experience at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The IMSR is undergoing a pre-licensing vendor design review by the CNSC.
Ontario Power Generation recently announced Terrestrial Energy as one of three grid-scale SMR developers it is to work with as part of its goal to deploy SMR technology.