Canada and the United States renew their commitment to clean energy: good news for PMS in Canada


On June 24, 2021, Canada and the United States demonstrated their continued bilateral commitment to clean energy by entering into a revised agreement protocol of agreement (the “PE”) Between the Canadian Department of Natural Resources and the United States Department of Energy.

The Memorandum of Understanding is a key step in ensuring that Canada and the United States meet their commitments under the Roadmap for a renewed Canada-United States partnership (the “Roadmap”), Which was signed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden on February 23, 2021. One of the central objectives of the Roadmap is to renew and expand the partnership between the two countries to cope to the climate crisis. To this end, Canada and the United States have agreed to adopt a coordinated approach to energy to accelerate progress towards achieving sustainable, resilient and clean energy infrastructure. In addition, the two countries expressed their commitment to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement, with the United States affirming its goal of achieving a net carbon pollution-free energy sector by 2035 and Canada reaffirming its target to reach 90% non-emitting electricity by 2030..

In pursuit of the climate objectives of the roadmap, the MoU aims to revitalize and broaden the cooperation of countries in the field of clean energy to facilitate the transition to net zero emissions by 2050. The Memorandum of Understanding he agreement identifies 15 areas of energy cooperation, including sustainable and equitable energy transitions, climate change policy, clean energy innovation, connectivity, value chains and low carbon transport. Nuclear energy is an area that the memorandum of understanding highlights as a key to cooperation. As part of the MOU, Canada and the United States will share knowledge and explore options to improve cooperation in areas of mutual interest related to energy policies, technologies and fuel cycles. nuclear.

Support for the MOU for SMRs

McCarthy Tétrault was next the development and support of small modular reactors (“SMRAs an emerging class of nuclear reactors capable of producing reliable, emission-free electricity to help Canada meet its emissions targets.

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Reagan has said there is no path to net zero without nuclear power and PMRs will be an indispensable tool to meet gas emissions targets greenhouse effect. The federal government has also shown continued support over the past year for the advancement of SMR technology in its two Small Modular Reactor Action Plan (the “SMR action plan”), Released in December 2020, and its eco-centric Canadian Federal Budget 2021 (the “Budget“).

Building on the action plan and budget for RSMs, the MOU underscores Canada’s continued support for RSMs and provides Canada with an opportunity to strengthen its key partnership with the United States to become a leader. world leader in the development of SMR. The MOU will also allow the two countries to deepen their regulatory and SMR policy collaboration by pursuing complementary regulatory standards to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens on stakeholders.

Countries have already collaborated on nuclear regulation and policy, including in the area of ​​RMP development. In August 2019, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (“CNSC “) and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“USNRC“) signed on Cooperation Protocol on Advanced Reactor Technologies and Small Modular Reactors (the “Cooperation protocol“). Under the Memorandum of Cooperation, the CNSC and USNRC are committed to sharing best practices and experiences in reviewing RMS technology designs, including the development of common RMS technical review approaches for facilitate regulatory reviews that take into account the national regulations of each country. The Memorandum of Understanding builds on the Memorandum of Cooperation by expressly committing to strengthening cooperation on nuclear energy policies, thereby advancing Canada’s pursuit of becoming a world leader in the development of PMRs.

Updates in the SMR industry

From our Last update, there have been many advances in the global development of SMRs.

(a) Canadian updates

On April 14, 2021, Alberta officially became the fourth province to enter into the Interprovincial Memorandum of Understanding (the “InterprovincialPE”) On the development of SMR. The participating provinces have agreed to work collaboratively to advance the development and deployment of RMPs to meet the climate change needs of New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, regional energy demand, economic development and research and innovation possibilities. . The provinces will also work together to address key issues for the deployment of RMPs (including technological readiness, regulatory frameworks, economics and financing, nuclear waste management, and public and Indigenous engagement), in order to positively influence the federal government to provide a clear and unambiguous statement that nuclear energy is a clean technology that is needed as part of the solution to climate change and to support PMS.

Also on April 14, 2021, the collaboration between major electric utilities in Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, including Bruce Power, Ontario Power Generation (“OPG“), New Brunswick Power and SaskPower (the”SMR Forum“) published its report, Feasibility of SMR development and deployment in Canada (the “Feasibility report“). The Feasibility Report provides the feasibility assessment of the SMR Forum on developing and deploying SMR, and its business case for implementing SMR in Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. The SMR Forum assessed that SMRs have the potential to be an economically competitive source of energy, depending on natural gas prices, carbon pricing, other low carbon alternatives available in each jurisdiction and level. support provided by federal and provincial governments, with the nuclear industry.

On May 14, 2021, NuScale Power (“NuScale”) And Prodigy Clean Energy (“Prodigy“), a Canadian company that develops marine nuclear power plants, announcement that they had concluded a second memorandum of understanding. This second MoU aims to support business development opportunities for using RMS in marine power plant systems for coastal power generation. Prodigy and NuScale have been collaborating since 2018 to determine the feasibility of integrating NuScale power modules into Prodigy’s marine power plant to provide a safer, more affordable, mobile and flexible clean energy solution to better meet growing demand for affordable, carbon-free electricity. global.

On May 19, 2021, Global First Power, a joint venture between OPG and Seattle-based technology company Ultra Safe Nuclear Cooperation, announcement that its micro-modular reactor project (the “MMR project”) Had reached a licensing milestone by fulfilling its license requirements to prepare the site. The MMR project will now move to the formal phase of the CNSC licensing process, which will include a detailed technical review. This announcement brings Global First Power closer to building and operating Canada’s first SMR, which will be developed at Chalk River Laboratories and scheduled for first power in 2026.

(b) International updates

On April 27, 2021, the US State Department made an initial investment of US $ 5.3 million in a grant program to promote the development of RSMs under the 3 Seas Initiative, which brings together 12 EU Member States between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. . This investment aims to help the United States gain market share as competition intensifies to dominate the energy supply chain in these countries.

On May 26, 2021, the British consortium SMR revealed its latest design and power upgrade for its proposed SMR. This new design follows the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, opening up generic design assessment to advanced reactor technologies. The UK SMR consortium is hoping that its SMR design will be the first design assessed by UK regulators later this year. The UK SMR consortium aims to complete its first SMR by the early 2030s and the SMR program is expected to create 40,000 regional jobs by 2050 and generate £ 52bn in economic benefits and £ 250bn in ‘additional exports (with memoranda of understanding already concluded with Estonia, Turkey and the Czech Republic).

Also in May 2021, the International Energy Agency published its report Net Zero by 2050: a roadmap for the global energy sector (the “IEA Roadmap“), which sets out a cost-effective transition to a net zero energy system. The IEA’s roadmap proposes a complete energy overhaul by 2050, with the energy sector made up of 90% renewable energy and The remaining 10% is mainly made up of nuclear energy. In order to achieve this target, current nuclear capacity will have to double by 2050. Although doubling nuclear capacity is a positive step, the IEA’s roadmap indicates that despite an increase in new construction and an emphasis on SMR over the next 15 years, nuclear power plants’ share of energy in total output in advanced economies will increase from 18% in 2020 at 10% in 2050.

On July 7, 2021, the Argentine National Atomic Energy Commission announcement that it had entered into an agreement with Nucleoeléctrica Argentina to complete the construction of the CAREM-25 SMR prototype. The agreement represents an important step in the reactivation of Argentina’s nuclear sector, with the construction of CAREM-25 to be completed within three years.

On July 12, 2021, the China National Nuclear Corporation announcement he had started construction of the ACP100 SMR, a key project of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan. The ACP100 was the first SMR to pass a safety exam by the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2016, and final approval for construction was given by China’s National Development and Reform Commission. in June 2021. Construction of the ACP100 is expected to take 58 months and when completed should be capable of producing enough electricity per year to meet the needs of 526,000 households.

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