CEO SMR Forum to Achieve Industry Alignment
Established in 2019, the CEO SMR Forum is a collaboration between the major electricity utilities in Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. The Forum comprises of the CEO’s of Bruce Power, New Brunswick Power, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), SaskPower, the CANDU Owners Group (COG) and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) with the objective to achieve industry alignment on a framework for a coordinated, optimized SMR development and deployment strategy for Canada.
OPG, Bruce Power, New Brunswick Power and SaskPower generate over 31,000 MW of electricity and directly employ more than 20,400 people.
The utilities are working in partnership to enable nuclear energy – and innovative SMRs – to play a key role in Canada and the world’s low-carbon future. Canada’s SMR Roadmap gave a path for success, and the CEO SMR Forum have been working together to make Canada the world leader in this area of high-tech innovation to anchor jobs, intellectual property and supply chains in a global market; and delivering on the climate change and clean energy commitments while opening opportunities for regional development, and enabling a constructive dialogue with northern and Indigenous communities on remote energy issues.
The CEO SMR Forum is supported by a CEO SMR Working Group who have established Canada’s unified strategy for pursuing SMR development. The CEO SMR Working Group partners consist of OPG, Bruce Power, NB Power, SaskPower as well as Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), CNA, and COG. CNL is a key partner in the strategy for successful demonstration and deployment of SMRs.
Support to the Provincial MOU
In 2019, the provincial Premiers of Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on SMR development. In support of this important initiative, the CEO SMR Forum formed an interprovincial MOU subgroup to ensure that the provinces have the support needed to advance the activities under the MOU. OPG, NB Power, SaskPower, Bruce Power, and CNA are the contributing parties to the Interprovincial MOU subgroup. This subgroup collaborates closely with the representatives of the provincial ministries to complete the feasibility studies and other deliverables committed under the MOU.
Collaboration with Industry Partners
In addition to supporting the CEO SMR Forum, the CEO SMR Working Group fulfills a critical role for other collaborative industry entities. These include:
- the CEO SMR Working Group are the funding members of the COG SMR Technology Forum (SMRTF). The SMRTF is made up of funding members as well as observers and its mandate and activities are detailed in a separate COG chapter of the Action Plan.
- the CEO SMR Working Group members, in addition to Cameco, also serve as steering committee members with oversight over the Canadian Nuclear Industry SMR Secretariat. Early in 2020, the SMR Secretariat was formed in partnership between the CNA and COG. This partnership was established to engage with enabling partners, coordinate, track and document progress on the recommendations of the pan-Canadian SMR Roadmap.
- the CEO SMR Working Group also participates on the Steering Group for Canada’s Action Plan.
Through the various industry group collaborations and initiatives, the CEO SMR Forum and Working Group members continue to play a vital role in working with other enabling partners, to drive solutions to central priorities affecting the success of SMRs including:
- risk sharing measures for first commercial reactors (through discussions with the Federal Government and respective provinces)
- initiatives to reduce SMR capital costs (through discussions with SMR vendors)
- regulatory engagement & efficiency (through the COG Regulatory Affairs program)
- fuel supply (through the fuel supply committee)
- waste management (through the COG Radioactive Waste Leadership Forum)
- nuclear liability (through the COG Nuclear Liability Task Team)
- indigenous and public engagement (through Utility activities, CNSC and NRCan)
- nuclear security (through the COG SMR Security Task Team)
These priorities are multifaceted and complex in nature. Enabling partners from Team Canada including utilities and owner-operators, federal and provincial governments, and others, have responded to the call to action in the SMR Roadmap. Evolving partnerships and shared contributions are critical to forming a strategy to support priorities such risk sharing for first commercial SMRs, waste management risk-sharing and life-cycle costs, fuel supply security, site preparation for SMR demonstrations, and others.
The CEO SMR Forum is committed to work in partnership to align on appropriate actions and provide industry perspectives on changes to policy and regulation, while building confidence and capacity and retaining the trust of Canadians in the safety of the nuclear industry, to enable SMRs to help meet Canada’s commitment to be net zero by 2050.
Endorsement and Support of the Action Plan Principles
By acting together and within each jurisdiction, uniting as Team Canada, leveraging Canada’s extensive capabilities, the members of the CEO SMR Forum endorse the principles of Canada’s SMR Action Plan. The nuclear electricity generation companies of Ontario and New Brunswick, along with SaskPower and CNL, have led the way towards demonstration and commercial deployment of nuclear power from SMRs which can provide clean power, grow the economy and establish whole new business opportunities at the same time.
Integrated Approach for Development and Deployment of SMRs in Canada
As identified in the Pan-Canadian SMR Roadmap, SMRs cover a wide range of power levels, designs, technological readiness levels and end user applications. In Canada, that can range from traditional on-grid generation to co-generation, heavy industry, mining, and remote community applications.
To meet this broad-based Canadian need, the four Utilities (SaskPower, OPG, Bruce Power and NB Power) have been working collectively and investing over the last two years to develop three streams of SMR projects. The three streams of projects will reduce carbon emissions and create growth opportunities for communities connected to the grid (Stream 1), will support advancement in nuclear technology and innovative methods to reduce nuclear by-products (Stream 2), and will bring affordable, clean energy to remote communities and mines (Stream 3). These three streams are being developed in parallel with equal priority.
Stream 1 represents an opportunity for early deployment of grid sized SMRs in Canada. Work is underway to move forward with a fleet of grid scaled SMRs with technologies that are ready to deploy thus enabling the decarbonization of electricity systems which will provide economic, reliable generation that can meet the needs of utilities for decades all while further developing the Canadian nuclear supply chain. OPG, Bruce Power and SaskPower have collaborated on a review of potential SMR technology developer partners for an on-grid Stream 1 reactor that could first be deployed at the Darlington site in Ontario targeting first power about 2028. Taking advantage of the availability of the licensed facilities at Darlington and Bruce Power site would confirm Canada’s first mover advantage and support the next phase of the Stream 1 SMR Development in Saskatchewan to support its electricity decarbonization plans with the potential for SMR deployment in the early 2030s. Part of the first mover advantage is the ability to sustain and build Canada’s nuclear supply chain which has been strengthened by the CANDU reactor refurbishments in Ontario.
NB Power continues to develop two advanced reactor designs in Stream 2 with an expected deployment timeline at their Point Lepreau site in the early to mid 2030’s. These advanced SMR designs bring a multitude of additional benefits such as increased levels of safety, simple low-cost designs and the ability to effectively recycle their own used fuel and reduce current inventories of used CANDU fuel. They have co-generation capabilities for potential application with heavy industry, desalination or hydrogen production, superior load following characteristics to support the intermittent nature of renewable forms of electricity production and have the potential of a substantial export market.
Stream 3 are the micro SMRs that can be used for displacing diesel generation currently used in remote areas for mining and in northern remote communities for heat and electricity generation. These could be demonstrated at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratory site(s) with a first project completed about 2026. Development work is underway for a potential eVinci project, and OPG is supporting the Global First Power (GFP) project which has submitted the first ever SMR licence application to the CNSC.
Significant amounts of private investment have already been dedicated to development of SMRs that can be built in Canada. The CEO SMR Forum has collaboratively developed an integrated approach outlining how Federal policy, financial support and risk reduction measures are necessary to support the development and deployment of all three streams.
Leveraging Canada’s Nuclear Capability
To implement the vision for SMR development and deployment in Canada, the CEO SMR Forum leverages the tremendous capability and talent of the nation. Members of the CEO SMR Forum are working with CNL as a key partner in research and demonstration of new technology to Canada. For example, CNL support for research and development along with fuel qualification is an important component of Stream 2 development led by NB Power, and CNL enabling of the Stream 3 demonstrations on AECL sites provides a major advantage for the GFP project. The nuclear operators engage with Nuclear Waste Management Organization, as their adaptive phased management plan for used fuel disposal will also play a key role in the social licence for SMRs. The nuclear utilities are engaged with and supported by the versatile Canadian nuclear supply chain companies represented by the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI). In addition to supporting the execution of the current CANDU reactor refurbishments, OCNI members continue to collaborate with utilities to bring innovative solutions and are poised and ready to support the developing SMR industry in Canada. Further details of these initiatives are described in the respective chapters of the associated organizations.
Link to Utility Chapters in the Action Plan
Following this chapter on the CEO SMR Forum in the Action Plan, there are individual chapters from Ontario Power Generation, Bruce Power, New Brunswick Power and SaskPower detailing the important work and critical actions that each are taking in their respective provinces to advance SMRs in jurisdictions across Canada. These chapters provide additional context and specificity to the essential work that is ongoing and planned to make SMRs a reality. The collaboration of the utilities through the CEO SMR Forum remains critical to ensure that Canada deploys SMRs at home and abroad with a coordinated and aligned strategy, to leverage Canada’s immense capability and expertise in the industry.
Several recommendations were assigned to the Canadian Nuclear Industry or Utilities and are addressed in the dedicated organization chapters for Bruce Power, New Brunswick Power, Ontario Power Generation, and SaskPower. However, the CEO SMR Forum believes a joint response is warranted in recognition of the pan-Canadian approach needed for success. Therefore, collaborative responses on these recommendations by the utility CEOs are included below.
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Initiatives to reduce SMR capital costs
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 38
In support of initiatives to reduce SMR capital costs, the members of the CEO SMR Forum are exploring the impact of various parameters in cost analyses such as fleet economics and advanced manufacturing as two of several approaches that could reduce costs.
Utility and owner-operator deployment plans for the three SMR streams advance with a view to reducing SMR capital costs. Plans include input from supply chain companies, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Engineering Procurement and Construction companies (EPCs), national and commercial laboratories, and service providers.
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
SMR demonstration projects
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 40
In support of SMR Demonstration projects, the CEO SMR Forum has been working on the potential for a pan-Canadian SMR fleet, on ways to share risks, share expertise, and potentially cost-share future projects through potential business models. This work will continue in 2021 and beyond.
SMR demonstration projects will be structured to share risks; bring expertise, judgement, and credibility to project proposals and business plans; and potentially cost-share funding.
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Strategic partnerships and business models
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 41
In support of strategic partnerships and business models, the CEO SMR Forum will continue to advance and assist with strategic partnerships to demonstrate the benefits of SMRs.
Demonstration proposals have a clearer and more compelling path to commercialization, as project proposals represent the full breadth of essential enabling partners needed to bring SMRs to market.
Demonstration proposals represent more value by enabling greater sharing of operational experience and lessons learned among partners, with projects benefiting from the perspectives of multiple enabling partners.
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Fleet deployment pathways
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 42
The CEO SMR Forum will continue to support the Provincial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) initiative(s) which will produce:
- SMR Feasibility Report
- strategic Deployment Plan
The various outputs from the MOU will reinforce the importance of a fleet-based approach for long term deployment across domestic jurisdictions and markets to leverage benefits, such as economies of multiples and other synergies (e.g., common fuel types, training)