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- Endorsement date: December 18, 2020
- Organization: Terrestrial Energy
Terrestrial Energy is pleased to stand alongside other members of the Canadian nuclear industry and broader community to endorse the Action Plan Statement of Principles.
Nuclear technology innovation is essential for climate change mitigation
Terrestrial Energy is a Canadian company at the international vanguard of Generation IV SMR innovation that it is working to make a transformative contribution to decarbonization. Over the full life of a plant, nuclear power generation emits under 10 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity, avoiding 300 to 400 grams versus natural gas and 600 to 800 versus coal. As such a nuclear pathway to decarbonization is essential according to experts such as Dr. James Hansen, the former NASA scientist and recognized “father of climate science”, who says, along with a chorus of other scientific and policy experts:
“There is no credible path to climate stabilization that does not include a substantial role for nuclear energy…we’ve done the math and we can’t power the world without nuclear energy.”
Terrestrial Energy recognizes that for nuclear energy to be a credible pathway, it must be much more cost-competitive that conventional nuclear technologies and competitive with natural gas and coal. Although existing nuclear power plants continue to serve us well, new plants built using these conventional nuclear technologies are inefficient, inflexible, unaffordable and uncompetitive regardless of the design, whether big or small, modular or not. Nuclear energy needs to be available as heat to industry as well as electricity to the grid, and both at affordable prices. These capabilities are only possible with Generation IV SMR innovation.
IMSR is Generation IV technology with market focused nuclear innovation
Terrestrial Energy is developing the Integral Molten Salt Reactor nuclear power plant (IMSR) to provide electricity and industrial heat. Terrestrial Energy is on track to commission the first commercial IMSR supplying electric power to grid in the late 2020s. In support of this deployment schedule, Terrestrial Energy is engaged with many suppliers in Canadian industry to secure the services and components. It is leveraging the Candu Owners Group (COG) and Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI) as part of that effort. Important elements of the IMSR component testing program are being undertaken by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) and supported by Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative (CNRI), an initiative established to accelerate the deployment of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in Canada.
The Company’s Ontario operation supports an in-house engineering team of 50 and is the largest SMR technology development program in Canada. It is further supported with resources from Canadian engineering firms. This Canada operation has developed a strong understanding of Canadian codes and standards, which is essential for timely IMSR deployment. Since early 2016, Terrestrial Energy has led the SMR market with its CNSC Vendor Design Review engagement. Terrestrial Energy is further engaged with the CNSC and US NRC in a cross-border nuclear regulatory initiative to support the Agencies as they co-operate on Generation IV technology licensing. IMSR is the first Generation IV technology involved in this unique arrangement between national regulators.
Generation IV IMSR technology is market-focused nuclear innovation
IMSR does not use conventional reactor technology – defined by a water coolant in a highly pressurized system – and the basis of nuclear electric power generation worldwide for the last 60 years. IMSR is Generation IV reactor technology – also referred to as “advanced” or “next-generation” reactor technology. IMSR uses a liquid fuel and coolant, in the form of a molten salt, operating at a high temperature and low pressure, and this formulation has many advantages. Although the technology is proven and demonstrated at national laboratories, IMSR’s unique innovation is the placement of primary reactor components within a sealed and replaceable reactor core – the IMSR “Core-unit” – which has a 7-year operating life. After this period, the spent Core-unit is simply replaced by a new one. This innovation achieves the simplicity and safety for operation and maintenance that permits the industrialization of this technology.
Terrestrial Energy recognises that markets are signalling a strong preference for small and modular reactors, which can be scaled quickly as needs evolve, and can be built using modern modular construction methods. These market preferences for a “right-sized” reactor and modular construction are reflected in the IMSR as well, which a Small Modular Reactor.
IMSR is flexible and ideal for electric power generation. With its high temperature operation IMSR delivers a 50% step-change improvement in the efficiency of electric power generation over conventional nuclear technology – only Generation IV technology can do this. This is essential for the IMSR to deliver the big economic advantages for nuclear energy to compete with coal, oil and natural gas. The IMSR also has strong “load-following” capabilities. It can “back-up” wind and solar power generation, which supports their further deployment without compromising grid resilience and stability. With high operating efficiency, IMSR also generates considerably less waste compared to conventional nuclear power plants.
IMSR is flexible. It produces high-quality heat, and this clean heat can supply many sectors of industry. It can be used in Canada to support large scale natural resource extraction, chemical and petrochemical synthesis, and to generate hydrogen from water on the massive scale needed for a clean hydrogen economy. Such “nuclear hydrogen” can finally realize a true hydrogen economy, where it can be used to make carbon-neutral transport fuels.
Canadian industry has a trillion-dollar SMR technology development opportunity
Our vision is for a fleet of IMSRs in Canada and in markets beyond, which provide reliable clean heat to industry, and electricity to the grid, at affordable prices, and make a major contribution to Canada’s economy, and to decarbonization goals, in a timeframe that is highly relevant. Such an IMSR fleet would make a major contribution to deep global decarbonization. Canada is not only well positioned to be a key player in the SMR market – it is strategically positioned to be a global frontrunner – led by Terrestrial Energy’s IMSR technology.
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Canadian deployment of first IMSR
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 46, 47
Terrestrial Energy’s objective is to commission the first commercial IMSR in Canada with its industrial partners – Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), Engineering Procurement and Construction companies (EPCs), utilities, owner-operators, national and commercial laboratories, and service providers.
Terrestrial Energy with its industrial partners is moving forward with its program to license, build and commission the first IMSR for a 2028 in-service date.
POLICY, LEGISLATION, AND REGULATION
Commitment to Canadian nuclear safety standards and CNSC Vendor Design Review
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 43, 46
Terrestrial Energy engaged with CNSC early and was the first SMR to complete VDR Phase 1 in late 2017. The Company was the first SMR to start VDR Phase 2 in late 2018, which it is working to complete.
Terrestrial Energy is active with the Canadian Standards Association to support standards harmonization and application.
Engagement with NWMO to determine form of IMSR spent fuel.
Terrestrial Energy commenced the VDR process for the IMSR in early 2016 and expects to complete this by late 2021.
The corollary benefit to the SMR industry is the demonstration of compliance with the Canadian regulatory framework. Terrestrial Energy expects that this regulatory framework will not require fundamental changes to accommodate IMSR technology.
Determination of IMSR spent fuel form.
CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Public Awareness, Engagement & Support for Generation-IV Nuclear Power
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 33, 46
Terrestrial Energy advocates for the merits of nuclear energy, SMRs, and IMSR in particular. It does this through engagement with local communities, environmental organizations, and the general press.
Terrestrial Energy engages with universities for research, and to support student engineers with Co-op work placements.
Terrestrial Energy supports STEM education and encourages graduates to pursue a career in the nuclear industry, and with Terrestrial Energy in particular.
Terrestrial Energy is a signatory to “Equal by 30” pledge, which works to advance the participation of women in the clean energy transition, and close the gender gap.
Terrestrial Energy communicates the benefits of nuclear through its social media channels and has one of the leading social media footprints in the SMR industry:
Social Media :
- Facebook: TerrestrialMSR
- Twitter: TerrestrialMSR
- YouTube: Terrestrial Energy
- LinkedIn: TerrestrialEnergy
Increase public awareness of the benefits of nuclear energy and of the technological and business innovations to deliver next-generation nuclear power.
Broad awareness that nuclear energy is one of our cleanest sources of reliable and scalable energy.
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIPS AND MARKETS
Supporting & Advancing Regulatory Best-Practices to Enable SMR Deployment
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 46
Terrestrial Energy is engaged with the CNSC to support a cross-border CNSC-USNRC regulatory collaboration to increase the efficiency of Generation IV reactor licensing.
Terrestrial Energy is engaged with European Union, UK, US and European nuclear research establishments to advance IMSR development and deployment.
Terrestrial Energy has comprehensive Engineering and R&D programs, which are implemented in Canada and abroad through research and development partners in the US, UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
Terrestrial Energy will continue to engage with the Agencies, and to support the objectives set out by the Agencies in a MOC signed in summer 2019.
Deeper cross-border government-to-government engagements for co-ordinated industrial policies that support private sector led nuclear innovation and international SMR deployment in North America and Western Europe, and Japan.
International engineering and R&D activities will bring collaborative efforts to Canada to ensure best-in-class technological development.