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CANDU Owners Group Inc. (COG)

CANDU Owners Group Inc. (COG)

Overview

Founded in 1984, COG is a private, not-for-profit corporation voluntarily funded primarily by CANDU operating utilities worldwide and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL).

COG’s vision is CANDU excellence through collaboration. Together with its members, suppliers, scientists and researchers, COG is continuously innovating nuclear plant equipment and processes to ensure the highest standard of safety, efficiency and environmental performance. Through workshops, events, training programs and peer groups, COG helps the industry share operating experience, work toward regulatory acceptance and strengthen human performance. COG is a trusted nuclear industry leader comprised of about 80 highly-skilled full-time employees and contractors with extensive experience in many facets of CANDU nuclear technology.

In Canada, there are 19 CANDU reactors that contribute 15% of Canada’s electricity supply. In Ontario alone, there are 18 reactors supplying more than 60% of the province’s electricity. In New Brunswick, the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station provides about 30% of the in-province electricity generation capability and can supply up to 60% of the electricity used in New Brunswick on a given day. COG’s Canadian membership includes Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Bruce Power, New Brunswick Power and CNL. Around the world, COG’s members include operators of CANDU reactors in Argentina, Romania, India, Pakistan, South Korea and China.

COG enables high-value work in the industry to be executed in a cost-sharing, knowledge-pooling framework for its Members, using a governance framework that meets its Members’ quality and commercial requirements.

The COG collaboration framework is the ideal model for COG Members, technology developers and other Team Canada partners to identify areas for collaboration and opportunities to co-fund work via COG joint projects and research and development.

COG’s SMR program is contributing to Canadian collaboration, to advance SMR technology and strengthen industry alignment on deployment strategies. Through COG’s Nuclear Safety and Environmental Affairs (NSEA) line of business, COG has taken a leadership role in facilitating information exchange and development on SMR activities from many of the members of Team Canada engaged in SMRs, who are also signatories to Canada’s Action Plan.

COG has launched collaborative initiatives in areas of mutual interest to its Members under the CEO SMR Forum, CEO SMR Working Group, and SMR Technology Forum (SMRTF). At a very high-level, these forums and working group were established for electricity generating utilities (specifically, OPG, Bruce Power, New Brunswick Power, SaskPower), and CNL, to work in partnership to develop a Canadian SMR strategy, identify and contribute to resolution of challenges facing SMR deployment, and to enable innovative SMRs to play a key role in Canada and the world’s low-carbon future, while opening opportunities for regional development, expanding the supply chain and creating high quality jobs for Canadians.

Additionally, collaborative activities and priorities for SMR technology developers have been identified in the COG SMR Vendor Participant Program (VPP) including inter-forum dialogue with other stakeholders and COG groups on important issues such as fuel supply, nuclear security and radioactive waste. Through the creation of the VPP, COG recognizes that SMR technology developers are critical contributors to the dialogue to resolve challenges and maximize the SMR opportunity for Canada domestically, and abroad.

COG’s unique framework enables its Members and Participants to come together and capitalize on collective effort and reach common goals with increased efficiency. Through cooperation, key objectives have been identified, and work is underway, to support stakeholders in successfully establishing SMRs in Canada. A collaborative culture and effective communication is essential for Team Canada to streamline the process to successfully bring SMRs to market and maximize benefits to Canadians.

Endorsement and Support of the Action Plan Principles

Through commitment to the Action Plan Statement of Principles, COG intends to support its Members and technology developers through joint projects and research and development for SMRs to support the industry achieving first units in operation by the late 2020s. COG also remains committed to supporting complimentary activities outlined in other partner’s chapters, as the integrated work at COG brings immense value for cooperation with key industry stakeholders and leveraging Canada’s extensive capabilities in the nuclear sector.

Furthermore, COG as an organization, is proud of its gender, age, and cultural workforce diversity and can be used as a model for strengthening diversity and representation in the nuclear industry. In 2020, COG joined many of its members and partners by signing on to the Equal by 30 global initiative. The Equal by 30 Campaign is part of the Clean Energy, Education and Empowerment Initiative (C3E), which works to advance the participation of women in the clean energy transition, and close the gender gap.  It is a joint Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and International Energy Agency (IEA) initiative. Equal by 30 signatories include public and private organizations, across the nuclear industry and beyond, who have committed to work towards equal pay, equal leadership and equal opportunities for women by 2030. The proportion of women in senior leadership roles at COG has increased from less than 15 percent in 2014 to 75 percent in 2020. Across COG, just over half of full-time employees are female and many manage projects, programs, or lines of business.

CEO SMR Forum and Working Group

The last year has seen significant progress on industry alignment at the highest level with the formation of the CEO SMR Forum and Working Group. The CEO SMR Forum is comprised of industry executives focussing on development of a common industry framework and building an SMR case for support from the federal government. The CEO SMR Working Group supports the CEO SMR Forum and has established the unified strategy for pursuing SMR development, demonstration and deployment in Canada. The working group partners consist of OPG, Bruce Power, NB Power, SaskPower and CNL, with participation from COG and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA). A standalone chapter for this Forum and Working Group is included in the Action Plan.

SMR Technology Forum and Task Teams

COG continues to facilitate the SMRTF, where key stakeholders and partners participate in information exchange, joint projects, and task teams to support collaborative initiatives and priorities for COG Members. The SMRTF Members include those Members of the CEO SMR Working Group from OPG, Bruce Power, NB Power, SaskPower and CNL, with additional observer participants including the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries     (OCNI), Canadian Standards Association (CSA), University Network for Excellence in Nuclear Engineering (UNENE), Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS), Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL), CNA and Natural Resources Canada. Through COG, the Members engage in discussions on important aspects for SMRs including regulatory, policy, and technical considerations. The SMRTF has participated in joint meetings on waste, with COG’s Radioactive Waste Leadership Forum and also recently sponsored important task teams related to recommendations from the Roadmap that are of importance to have industry alignment in the areas of SMR security and nuclear liability.

SMR Vendor Participant Program

In addition to supporting the COG Members in SMR activities, in 2019, COG piloted the SMR Vendor Participant Program (VPP). The program, running again in 2020, brings together SMR technology developers interested in deploying to the Canadian marketplace. SMR vendors that have joined the program benefit from participation in a program that allows them to address common challenges and share perspectives, generic best practices, and lessons learned. As commercial SMRs are a new technology in the energy sector in Canada, vendors have the opportunity to work collaboratively to motivate dialogue related to fundamental decisions necessary for successful deployment. Subjects such as plans for fuel supply, fuel cycle, and waste management considerations are vital to potentially adopting new fuel types and reactor designs in Canada. Natural uranium nuclear fuel has been the foundation of fuel supply in Canada, and SMRs will bring new forms of fuel and eventually, waste. There are many stakeholders affected by potential decisions in those areas, and SMR technology developers are critical contributors to the discussions. As a group, vendors have a collective voice to contribute to common technical positions, engage with the industry on shared problems or barriers, and participate in the resolution of issues. By having the means to engage various key industry stakeholders as a single unit, the process of sharing or exchanging information becomes more efficient.

Canadian Nuclear Industry SMR Secretariat

Further to its own internal program areas, COG is also actively fulfilling a supporting role to the Canadian Nuclear Association in the Canadian Nuclear Industry SMR Secretariat. This partnership was established to track and document progress on the recommendations of the pan-Canadian SMR Roadmap, published in 2018. The SMR Secretariat plays a critical role for the industry to ensure that the Roadmap recommendations are being actioned by the respective owners, and to maintain an up to date database of the important progress being made.

Supporting a Roadmap to International Collaboration

With a primary focus on Canada’s future for SMRs, COG is looking globally as well. Through its established network of industry partners, COG is also well positioned to engage global stakeholders to progress international discussions on important aspects of instituting a roadmap on international harmonization for SMRs. Future topics may include coordination of initial design review, as well as integration of design, operations, maintenance, training, decommissioning, operating experience, and waste management strategies. Leveraging relationships with industry partner organizations to initiate and maintain dialogue of advanced technologies is required to achieve international harmonization. COG has initiated and continues to participate in periodic discussions with international organizations. COG also has the ability to align with Canada’s regulator and federal government on developing an approach to deploying SMRs internationally.

Actions

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
SMR Technology Forum and SMR Vendor Participant Program
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
COG01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 6, 8, 22, 23, 35, 44

ACTIONS

COG convenes the SMR Technology Forum, bringing together SMR technology vendors and SMR utilities for practical collaboration.

COG members leverage an avenue to collaborate and align on strategic approaches and priorities to co-fund joint projects, and R&D to enable SMR deployment in Canada and abroad.

In addition, in 2019, COG established the SMR Vendor Participant Program (VPP) which provides an avenue for SMR vendors to collaborate to:

  1. Work together: identify/address common key challenge areas, in particular, regulatory framework and policy
  2. Collectively review and input to industry positions (e.g., nuclear security principles)

EXPECTED RESULTS

The SMR Technology Forum continues to be convened under COG. The Forum initiates and supports joint projects and task teams (e.g., SMR security, nuclear liability, fuel supply) to ensure that priorities areas and concerns supporting SMRs area identified by the industry are addressed.

Through the VPP, a common avenue for communication is established along with a collective voice for SMR vendors to engage with other key partners through joint meetings including interfacing with the SMRTF.

The SMRTF and VPP initiatives ensure industry contributes input to ensure legislative, regulatory, and standards framework in Canada is sound and ready for SMRs. The CNSC is provided with input to consider regulatory refinements in existing regulatory documents (REGDOCS) based on a graded approach using risk-informed criteria.

POLICY, LEGISLATION, AND REGULATION
Radioactive Waste Leadership Forum (RWLF)
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
COG02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 36

ACTIONS

As the Secretariat of Canada’s Radioactive Waste Leadership Forum, COG has taken steps to include the federal government in the discussions toward an integrated radioactive waste management plan that will also consider SMR waste. Natural Resources Canada and CNSC staff are periodically invited to the RWLF to provide updates on Canada’s plans to enhance radioactive waste policies, waste strategies and regulatory frameworks and learn about the industry’s radioactive waste plans, and how SMR wastes can be accommodated. The COG structure provides a strong framework to easily conduct inter-forum dialogue directly via integrated joint meetings.

EXPECTED RESULTS

As a result of COG members convening through the RWLF, the development of a future integrated waste management strategy for Canada progresses. COG’s SMR Technology Forum, SMR Vendor Participant Program and Radioactive Waste Leadership Forum enable members and technology developers to conduct meaningful engagements such that the waste management needs of smaller waste producers, including from SMR proponents who may not yet be represented, are considered in the discussions.     

Ongoing dialogue amongst forum members enables the integrated waste management strategy to develop in a timely fashion. Progress towards identifying disposal pathways for all radioactive wastes, including from SMRs, is achieved.

POLICY, LEGISLATION, AND REGULATION
COG Nuclear Liability Task Team
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
COG03

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 6

ACTION

COG Members recognize the importance and role of nuclear liability in supporting the feasibility and business case for SMRs.

The COG SMR Technology Forum has established a task team to develop an industry position guidance on a graded approach to nuclear liability insurance limits, in proportion to the risks posed by the nuclear installation.

The industry position will be provided as input to the federal government review of nuclear installation classification in the regulations under the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act to ensure that liability amounts for different SMR categories are aligned with the risks that they pose.           

EXPECTED RESULTS

A unified position from industry is considered to ensure that nuclear liability amounts for different SMR categories are aligned with the risks that they pose.

POLICY, LEGISLATION, AND REGULATION
COG SMR Security Task Team
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
COG04

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 22

ACTION

The COG SMR Technology Forum has established a SMR Security Task Team to develop guidance on using objective based performance criteria for consideration to revisions to the Canadian Nuclear Security Regulations.

The industry document was submitted as input to CNSC for consideration during the review of the Nuclear Security Regulations.            

EXPECTED RESULTS

A unified position from industry on using objective based performance criteria is put forward and considered by CNSC in the revision to the Nuclear Security Regulations.

INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS AND MARKETS
International Collaboration by Industry
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
COG05

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 15, 25

ACTION

COG is leveraging its international influence through its strong partnerships and associations with key organizations around the world, such as the World Nuclear Association (WNA), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), to support discussions and build alignment on long-term strategies for international harmonization.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Alignment is built on the approach to long term strategies for enabling frameworks to allow for a successful international fleet deployment of SMRs.

Regulatory cooperation is supported by industry to provide leadership in the development of international enabling frameworks for the global deployment of SMRs.

POLICY, LEGISLATION, AND REGULATION
The Canadian Nuclear Industry SMR Secretariat
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
COG06

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 32

ACTION

Together, with CNA as the lead, COG is supporting the Canadian Nuclear Industry SMR Secretariat.

The Secretariat engages enabling partners, tracks and documents progress on the SMR Roadmap recommendations.

For more information, please see the response under the Canadian Nuclear Association’s chapter.

EXPECTED RESULTS

The 53 recommendations outlined in Canada’s Pan-Canadian SMR Roadmap are acted upon by owners and progress is documented. Team Canada works together on all fronts to successfully bring SMRs to market.

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Engagement with NWMO on fuel waste management specifications and costs
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
COG07

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 30, 31, 45

ACTION

As the operators of Canada’s current and potential future nuclear power plants, the COG SMR Technology Forum Members are engaged with the NWMO to provide input on and understand NWMO’s technical specifications for a safe disposal facility for used nuclear fuel (including from SMRs) and how used fuel from SMRs can be treated into compatible waste forms for disposal in the NWMO facility, and we strongly encourage SMR technology developers to be likewise engaged.

The COG collaboration model has been, and continues to be, leveraged to conduct inter-forum dialogue directly via integrated joint meetings of COG’s SMR Technology Forum, SMR Vendor Participant Program and Radioactive Waste Leadership Forum (with NWMO as a member) such that the waste management needs of SMRs can be considered.

EXPECTED RESULTS

NWMO is engaged early on appropriate technical specifications for a safe disposal facility and compatible waste forms for SMRs that could be deployed in Canada.