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Local Government District of Pinawa

Local Government District of Pinawa

Overview

PINAWA’S VISION FOR DEMONSTRATING SMR TECHNOLOGY AND THE DEMONSTRATION REMOTE COMMUNITY

The Local Government District (LGD) of Pinawa is the host municipality of the AECL owned Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) managed Whiteshell Laboratories (WL), a nuclear Research and Development site that is currently being decommissioned.  Pinawa is a community of 1,500 people located approximately 110 km northeast of Winnipeg, Manitoba.   Pinawa was built in 1963 at the same time as the WL site to provide a community for WL employees to live in.  People came from all over the world to live in Pinawa and participate in world class nuclear R&D.  Pinawa owes its entire history to the nuclear industry and residents want nuclear to be a significant part of our future.  WL has been the main employer for Pinawa.  The site has also provided jobs to residents from all over Eastern Manitoba including Winnipeg.  WL employed over 1,000 employees at its peak.

The Whiteshell Laboratories site is the best location in Canada for the demonstration of SMRs.  CNL currently holds the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) license for the decommissioning of the laboratory facilities.  In the early days, a small research reactor (60 MWth) was licensed to operate from 1965 to 1985.  The reactor was strictly for research and was not connected to the grid.  However, this clearly shows that the WL site could be licensed for operating small reactors in the future, subject to successfully completing the licensing process with the CNSC, which would include an environmental assessment.  As mentioned earlier, the residents of Pinawa desire to have a nuclear future.  In fact, there are 10 municipalities (most of Eastern Manitoba) that have provided formal Resolutions of Support for the development of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) at the WL site.  First Nations neighbours have been engaged in the idea and are supportive.  We also have support from elected provincial and federal representatives, educational institutions, trade organizations, and others.  So there is a strong social license for demonstration of SMRs at the WL site.  A huge advantage of the WL site is the capacity to connect to the Manitoba Hydro grid utilizing existing infrastructure.  Since the site is being decommissioned the existing electricity infrastructure can be redeployed to support transmission to the grid and this has been confirmed with Manitoba Hydro.  The site has many other assets but we have presented the most important ones.

SMRs may potentially play a very significant role in providing affordable, reliable, clean greenhouse gas free electricity and heat for both on-grid and off-grid applications.  Pinawa’s focus has been on smaller SMRs (5 to 20 MWe) for off-grid remote communities and industrial operations such as mining.  Off-grid communities or mine sites are typically in remote locations with a significant component of First Nations residents.  It is essential that SMR technology be successfully demonstrated before any remote off-grid community and/or mine site will adopt an SMR as a solution for their energy needs.  It is very likely that many such communities will be reluctant to accept the technology, having not had any history with nuclear as a source of power in the past.  It is Pinawa’s vision to not only demonstrate SMR technologies, but to also show how an SMR can change their quality of life for the better.  Pinawa is proposing to become the Demonstration Remote Community.

To encourage a remote, off-grid community or mining operation to choose SMR technology for their energy needs, it is our view that a much more comprehensive demonstration is required.  So another key advantage of the Whiteshell Laboratories site is that Pinawa can be set up as a microgrid, be powered by the demonstration SMR (confirmed with Manitoba Hydro), and become the Demonstration Remote Community.  Visitors from a remote community or mining company will be able to come to Pinawa, see that the demonstration SMR is running safely, reliably, cost effectively, and is greenhouse gas free and in addition, see a small community similar to their own that is being powered by the SMR.  Indeed, the SMR would decrease the cost of electricity in a remote, off-grid community by a factor of 3 to 5 (or maybe more) and eliminate the reliance on burning diesel fuel and the environmental harm that it causes.

Introducing an SMR into a remote community will provide a surplus of affordable power and therefore, provide unprecedented opportunities to cost effectively improve quality of life.  Many remote communities are facing a challenging environment with very expensive electricity and are limited by capacity so making changes to their quality of life is not feasible.  This is often referred to as “Energy Poverty”.  A surplus of power at 3 to 5 times lower cost will change that outlook.  There are many ways that the surplus power can change lives:

  1. Ability to grow fresh fruit and vegetables in a harsh climate year round.  Hydroponic facilities are being developed to operate in arctic climates with some units already deployed in remote communities.  These can be combined with greenhouse facilities using electricity and waste heat from the SMR.  Having affordable fresh fruit and vegetables year round will lead to a healthier diet and better health outcomes.
  2. District heating, which will further reduce reliance on fossil fuels and therefore, further reduce cost of living.
  3. Improved access to internet, electrification of vehicles, and purification/desalination of water.
  4. Integration with renewable sources of energy.
  5. Since Energy Poverty is reduced or eliminated, new economic development is enabled.

It is part of Pinawa’s Demonstration Remote Community vision to physically show how all these things are possible enabling visitors from a remote community to visualize how their lives will be changed for the better.  Pinawa has an SMR vendor who has embraced this vision and has chosen the WL as their preferred site for their demonstration SMR.

Engagement of Indigenous communities will be of particular importance in development of this comprehensive demonstration.  As mentioned earlier, engagement has commenced with Pinawa’s First Nations neighbours.  The discussion has been positive and there is particular acknowledgement of the opportunity to improve people’s lives for the better.  Similar engagement in remote communities, particularly with First Nations residents will be critical to success and more challenging since there would be no prior history with nuclear power.  The Demonstration Remote Community concept is designed to overcome these concerns by demonstrating the many ways that lives can be safely and economically changed for the better.

In summary, it is Pinawa’s vision to Demonstrate SMR technology and all the ways that Quality of Life can be improved through the Demonstration Remote Community concept.  This will be a very compelling demonstration that will be much more effective than simply building a demonstration SMR.  Visitors from remote communities and/or mining companies will be able to visualize a better life.  Let’s end energy poverty together!

The LGD of Pinawa endorses the SMR Action Plan Statement of Principles.

Actions

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Pinawa will transform into the Demonstration Remote Community to provide a Comprehensive Demonstration of all Benefits of an SMR to Remote, Off-Grid, Communities and/or Mining Operations
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
PIN01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 1, 2, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 19, 27, 28, 40, 41, 43

ACTION

The LGD of Pinawa will transform from an on-grid community to become the Demonstration Remote Community powered by SMR Technology to show the many benefits that an SMR can bring to a remote, off-grid community and/or mining organization.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  1. A comprehensive demonstration of SMR technology and all the benefits that the technology will bring to a small community
  2. Residents of small, remote, off-grid communities and/or mining companies will be encouraged to embrace the technology when able to observe a clear demonstration of the safe, reliable, and cost effective operation of an SMR, and
  3. Residents will be able to visualize all the quality of life improvements that the technology will enable.  The comprehensive demonstration will help educate people with no experience with nuclear power that this is a good choice for a better life
  4. Load following capacity of Demonstration SMRs will be demonstrated
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Pinawa will Prioritize Development of SMR Technologies that Minimize Capital Investment from Remote Communities or Mines
STATUS: COMPLETE
PIN02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 16, 17, 19, 38, 40, 41, 43

ACTION

The LGD of Pinawa will seek SMR vendors that have a commercial plan that minimizes or eliminates the need for capital investment for remote communities or mines.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  1. Remote communities and mines who want to embrace the SMR technology will not be prohibited from doing so due to lack of capital funds
  2. Remote communities and mine sites who become customers will have a power purchase agreement which will provide cost certainty over the life of the SMR project
  3. No upfront capital cost for an SMR for a mining company will reduce risk and increase financial feasibility to potential new remote mine operations that will otherwise never be developed
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Pinawa will Prioritize Development of SMR Technologies with a Commitment to Effective and Timely Management of Used Fuel and Decommissioning of  SMRs at End of Life
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
PIN03

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 16, 17, 19, 27, 30, 31, 38, 40, 41, 43

ACTION

The LGD of Pinawa is committed to seeking SMR vendors that share Pinawa’s commitment to the Effective and Timely Management of Used Fuel and Decommissioning of SMRs at End of Life.  This includes incorporating efficient and timely decommissioning into the construction design.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  1. Remote communities and mines who want to embrace the SMR technology will not need to be concerned about legacy liabilities
  2. Federal, Provincial, Territorial, and Municipal Governments will not be burdened with legacy liabilities
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Pinawa will Develop a Green Energy Park to Demonstrate the Integration of SMR Technologies with Other Sources of Renewable Energies
STATUS: UPCOMING
PIN04

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 1, 2, 11, 16, 17, 18, 33, 38, 40, 41

ACTION

The LGD of Pinawa will develop a Green Energy Park to demonstrate the integration of SMR technology with other sources of renewable energies including wind, solar, and others.  A comprehensive energy system for mining applications should also include battery technology and hydrogen production.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  1. The load following features of SMRs means that the power can be integrated with renewable energies such as wind and solar.  This will maximize the useful output from the renewables, which, in turn, extends the life of the reactor fuel
  2. Remote communities that have already invested in renewables will be more open to an SMR if it can be integrated with the renewables.
  3. Mining companies that have already invested in renewables will be more open to an SMR if it can be integrated with the renewables.  In addition, incorporating batteries and hydrogen production will be a benefit to many mining companies
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Pinawa will Engage Remote Communities and Mining Companies to Determine Content to be Included in an Effective Demonstration Project
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
PIN05

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 10, 11, 12, 19, 21, 24, 31, 33, 41, 43, 50, 51, 53

ACTION

The LGD of Pinawa will engage with residents in remote, off-grid communities and/or mining companies to determine the various components in a successful demonstration to be incorporated into the Demonstration Remote Community plan.  The LGD of Pinawa will engage Post-Secondary Education Institutions to collaborate on studies to contribute to the vision of the Demonstration SMR and Demonstration Remote Community.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  1. Increased awareness of challenges of living in a remote, off-grid community
  2. Increased dialogue with residents in remote, off-grid community with the opportunity to describe how an SMR could improve their lives for the better
  3. Increased meaningful dialogue with indigenous communities on SMR technologies and how it would enable improvements to quality of life
  4. A more effective Demonstration SMR and Demonstration Remote Community Project will result in a higher likelihood of meeting the needs of residents in remote, off-grid communities and mining companies and higher probability of a decision to embrace the technology
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Pinawa will Build Broad Support in Manitoba with Neighbouring First Nations Communities, Neighbouring Municipalities,  Government,  and Other Organizations for SMR Demonstration Projects
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
PIN06

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 24, 31, 33, 37, 39, 41, 43, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53

ACTION

The LGD of Pinawa will continue to engage our First Nation neighbours, neighbouring municipalities, provincial and federal governments, and other organizations to build support for SMR Demonstration Projects.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  1. Expression of Support from First Nations Communities endorsing the SMR Demonstration Projects and the theme of improving Quality of Life for people in remote, off-grid communities
  2. Increased letters or resolutions of support for the SMR Demonstration projects from municipalities and other organizations
  3. Maximized economic benefit of the SMR Demonstration projects and Demonstration Remote Community to our First Nations neighbours, the Eastern Manitoba region and to the Province of Manitoba
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Pinawa will Emphasize Education, Training, and Job Creation for Indigenous people, women, and minorities
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
PIN07

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 10, 11, 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 24, 31, 33, 37, 39, 41, 43, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53

ACTION

The LGD of Pinawa will continue to build Partnerships between SMR vendors, Post-Secondary Education Institutions, Trade Organizations, Supply Chain Companies, all levels of government, etc. with a focus on education, training, and job creation for Indigenous people, women, and minorities.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  1. Education, training, and job creation for indigenous people, women, and minorities will be incorporated into demonstration projects
  2. The importance of Education, training, and job creation for indigenous people, women, and minorities in remote, off-grid communities will be demonstrated to SMR vendors
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS AND MARKETS
Pinawa will develop a Marketing Strategy to promote the SMR Demonstration and Demonstration Remote Community
STATUS: UPCOMING
PIN08

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 14, 15, 25, 29, 34, 42

ACTION

The LGD of Pinawa will develop a Marketing Strategy to promote the SMR Demonstrations and Demonstration Remote Community to the target markets in Canada and the World.

EXPECTED RESULTS

  1. Canadian remote, off-grid communities and mining companies will be provided the opportunity to visit Pinawa, learn about SMRs, and how it can positively change their future outlook.
  2. Developing countries, island nations, and remote, off-grid communities in foreign countries will be provided the opportunity to visit Pinawa and observe a clear demonstration of the safe, reliable, and cost effective operation of an SMR, and
  3. Representatives from foreign countries will be able to visit Pinawa and visualize all the quality of life improvements that SMR technology will enable.  The SMR demonstrations must include a comprehensive plan to convince people with limited or no experience with nuclear power that this is a good choice