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AtkinsRéalis (formerly SNC-Lavalin Group) unveiled its new Candu Monark reactor design at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. The 1,000 MWe Candu Monark, with the highest output of any Candu technology, is currently in the definition phase. AtkinsRéalis says “it leverages Candu technology's tested and reliable design features together with the most modern and advanced engineering solutions; a Canadian solution for utilities faced with meeting the dual demands of net zero and energy security”.

AtkinsRéalis President & CEO Ian L Edwards said: "Our Nuclear business in Canada, initially with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited Ltd (AECL), has been at the forefront of innovation for over 70 years and introducing the development of the latest reactor design continues this distinguished legacy. We are the current original equipment manufacturer and steward of Candu technology; these modern large-scale reactors will play a critical role in producing the quantum of additional electricity supply that's required to power the energy transition."

"The Candu Monark reactor is the evolution of a proven Canadian technology that has not only been sought around the world, but for which our clients approach us to refurbish so they can operate it even longer," said Joe St. Julian, President, Nuclear, AtkinsRéalis. "They recognise the strength of Candu technology as a heavy water reactor, and how it stacks up against other products on the market."

The Candu Monark reactor offers an economically attractive, domestic full-scale product to utilities looking to deploy new nuclear power at scale, according to AtkinsRéalis. It features a larger output of 1,000 MWe, improved cost per megawatt-hour, a longer operating life of 70 years, sustainable design principles to minimise environmental impact, the latest in robotics, predictive maintenance and high integration with flexible electricity grids of the future.

The technology is designed to leverage the latest engineering techniques, including full interoperability with digital twin technology to reduce costs for construction, operation, and maintenance. It is the easiest reactor design to build, operate and maintain in AtkinsRéalis's Candu nuclear portfolio.

The reactor has been designed to simplify maintenance, while incorporating a module-based construction strategy that reduces construction compared with previous generations of Candu technology. When combined with the enhanced control afforded by digital delivery concepts, it will be constructed faster and with lower risk.

AtkinsRéalis says the Candu Monark leverages the existing strengths of the proven Candu design. This includes using natural uranium as a fuel source (which can be produced domestically in the reactor's host country), on-power refuelling, and online maintenance. Like other Candu reactors, the fuel flexibility of Candu Monark technology also allows it to safely use other fuel sources with minimal adjustments; including recycled uranium, thorium and mixed oxide fuels.

Candu Monark reactor will continue the ability of Candu technology to produce medical grade isotopes to sterilise medical equipment, and for use in both fighting and researching cancer. Ontario's Candu reactors produce 50% of the world's supply of the Cobalt-60 isotope. As part of its design, the Candu Monark can integrate a hydrogen production plant and storage facility into a nuclear station, as well as use surplus heat from the plant to make hydrogen generation more efficient.

The supply chain for existing Candu technology consists of over 250 companies and 76,000 employees which can be lev eraged by the Candu Monark. The reactor has comprehensive "defence in depth" systems to de-risk even the most unlikely scenarios. It contains two independent, equally effective systems that can shut down the reactor. Both systems work without power, and without the need for operator intervention.

The Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator's (IESO's) "Pathways to Decarbonisation" report indicated that the province will need another 18 GWe of nuclear power by 2050. The reactor life extension work that AtkinsRéalis is undertaking at Darlington and Bruce Power will help to ensure that the 10 Candu reactors at those sites continue to support the province's increasing power needs while maintaining one of the lowest carbon footprints for power generation in Canada.

"Canadian nuclear technologies are known around the world as being one of the best," said Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade & Economic Development for Canada. "In fact, Candu reactors are synonymous with Canada. The new Candu Monark reactor design will ensure Candu technology remains front and centre amid growing interest in nuclear energy around the world as part of the clean energy transition."

Date: Friday, 01 December 2023
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