Kairos Power, Moltex Canada, Terrestrial Energy Inc and UltraSafe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) have been selected as the first recipients of support under an initiative launched earlier this year to accelerate the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) in Canada, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has announced.

CNL aims to provide a global hub for SMR research and technology, and plans to have a demonstration SMR built on site by 2026. It launched the Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI) in July to accelerate SMR deployment by enabling research and development and connecting global vendors of SMR technology with the facilities and expertise within Canada's national nuclear laboratories. Recipients are expected to match the value contributed by CNL either in monetary or in-kind contributions.

CNL said it received a "strong response" to the announcement of the initial intake, receiving applications from key players in the SMR industry in Canada and abroad. Submissions were accepted based on a list of designated focus areas, including market analysis, fuel development, reactor physics modelling, transportation, and others.

The four projects that have been selected are: Moltex Canada and the University of New Brunswick's test apparatus to explore the potential of converting used Candu reactor fuel to power their stable salt reactor design; Kairos Power's tritium management strategy for its high-temperature fluoride salt-cooled reactor; USNC's resolution of technical issued for its Micro Modular Reactor (MMR), including fuel processing, reactor safety, and fuel and graphite irradiation; and Terrestrial Energy's evaluation of nuclear safety, security and non-proliferation technologies for its integrated molten salt reactor (IMSR400) and other SMR designs. The Terrestiral Energy project will also look at opportunities to use CNL's existing facilities, notably the ZED-2 reactor, as well as develop new experimental capabilities related to molten salt reactors.

"CNL has made significant progress over the past three years to position Canada as the hub for small modular reactor research, we have built up considerable expertise and knowledge in key technical areas that are common across SMR technologies," CNL Vice-President of Science and Technology Kathryn McCarthy said.

CNL's Chief Commercial Officer Corey McDaniel said the CNRI initiative allows it to respond "directly and efficiently" to the needs of industry by co-funding R&D that accelerates deployment in an "increasingly competitive" commercial marketplace.

Moltex said the award would support its ongoing Oxide Nuclear WAste Reduction Demonstration project. This is exploring the commercial viability of Moltex’s WAste To Stable Salts technology to convert used Candu fuel into new fuel for a Stable Salt Reactor. Rory O’Sullivan, Moltex Energy CEO for North America, said: "Many countries around the world have stores of used nuclear fuel from their current nuclear plants and we have discovered a clean, safe and economical way to recycle this waste into a fuel to produce power in the Moltex Stable Salt Reactor, and significantly reduce the amount of long-lived radionuclides."

The selected projects will now begin negotiations for the terms of cost-sharing arrangements. CNL expects to issue its next call for CNRI proposals early next year.

CNL in April 2018 launched an invitation for SMR project proponents to evaluate the construction and operation of a demonstration unit at one of its sites. At present four proponents are engaged in the four-stage invitation process. U-Battery Canada Ltd, with a design for a 4 MWe high-temperature gas reactor; StarCore Nuclear, with a proposed 14 MWe high-temperature gas reactor; and Terrestrial Energy, with a 190 MWe integral molten salt reactor, have all completed the first stage of the process. Global First Power, with a proposal for a 5 MWe MMR, has completed the first two stages and begun the third stage which includes preliminary discussions on land arrangements, project risk management, and contractual terms.

Global First Power, with support from Ontario Power Generation and USNC, in April submitted a licence application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in support of its proposal to deploy a MMR plant at CNL's Chalk River site in Ontario. The regulator began an environmental assessment of the project in July.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Tuesday, 19 November 2019
Original article: world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/CNL-selects-first-SMR-vendors-for-cost-shared-fund