Town of Deep River

Endorsement date


The Town of Deep River is a diverse, vibrant and forward-thinking community of approximately 4,500 citizens, located in Renfrew County on the shores of the beautiful Ottawa River, a few kilometeres west of the Chalk River Laboratories - Canada’s premier nuclear science and innovation facility. Established in 1945 in parallel with the Chalk River Laboratories, location of the first nuclear reactors in Canada (Zeep, NRX, NRU), The Town of Deep River has been home to many of the brightest scientific minds in Canada – including four Nobel Laureates. While our population has evolved over time, our residents continue to be very knowledgeable of and comfortable with nuclear science and technology.

I am personally very proud to be the Mayor of such an amazing community with a science-based legacy and a solid understanding of nuclear and I, along with Reeve Glenn Doncaster, frequently represent our council wherever and whenever we can promoting nuclear.

Our entire Deep River Council is highly supportive of the nuclear industry and SMRs/vSMRs in particular.

In June, 2019 Council approved our new Strategic Plan which included the following Task: “Pursue the Town’s interest in collaborations with CNL that promote Deep River as a model/green/sustainable community through piloting of innovative technologies such as a Small Modular Reactor.”

On December 18, 2019 Deep River Council took the initiative to pass the following resolution supporting the nuclear industry and the “3 Premier’s” calls for development of SMR technology. Our unanimous resolution was forwarded to the Prime Minister, the Premier and to all Ontario municipalities requesting their support for nuclear as a safe, green, low carbon solution to the world’ energy demand and called on Prime Minister Trudeau to support nuclear as an emerging economy in Canada:

  • BE IT RESOLVED THAT the CBC News report entitled "Group of premiers band together to develop nuclear reactor technology", be received,
  • THAT the citizens of Ontario have enjoyed the benefits of safe, clean, low-carbon energy produced by Ontario’s nuclear industry for over 50 years.
  • THAT the Canadian nuclear industry is one of the safest and most well-regulated energy sectors in the world under the oversight of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • THAT the limited waste generated from nuclear, is compact, safely contained and well managed.
  • THAT the Town of Deep River supports the Premiers stance on nuclear technology and the deployment of Small Nuclear Reactors in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, explore innovation in nuclear technology and reduce the need for invasive transmission lines,
  • THAT letters be sent to these Premiers commending them for their innovative and wise vision on nuclear energy as a safe, green, low-carbon solution to the world's energy demand,
  • THAT all levels of government be encouraged to examine nuclear energy, nuclear medicine and nuclear innovation as advanced solutions that will serve the world well into the 22nd Century, and
  • THAT this resolution be circulated to the Prime Minister, all Premiers and the AMO circulation list for consideration and support to Prime Minister Trudeau as an emerging economy in Canada that Canadians have demonstrated excellence and leadership on the world stage for more than 70 years!

On April 8, 2020 Deep River Council publicly announced and outlined our intent to pass a new zoning by-law which includes definitions for SMRs and vSMRs and allows vSMRs to be considered as a public utility. With no objections received, on April 23, 2020 Deep River’s new Zoning By-law was approved which includes the following definitions:

  • SMALL MODULAR REACTOR (SMR) means a nuclear reactor regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission that generates greater than 15 megawatt electric (MWe) (or equivalent megawatt thermal (MWt)) per facility, but less than 300 megawatt electric (or equivalent megawatt thermal (MWt)) for the purpose of supplying heat and/or electrical power and/or heat generation.
  • SMALL MODULAR REACTOR, VERY (VSMR) means a nuclear reactor regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission that generates not greater than 15 megawatts electric (MWe) (or equivalent megawatt thermal (MWt)) per facility, for the purpose of supplying heat and/or electrical power and/or heat generation.

On June 24, 2020 Deep River Council received a presentation from Eric McGoey and Rosalie Ahlan of Global First Power, on the Micro Modular Reactor Project at the Chalk River Laboratories.

While the Town of Deep River has taken several recent initiatives and removed barriers to advance SMR development locally. As both a mayor and a concerned global citizen, I believe there is a need for more urgency by the federal government and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission in the development and safe deployment of SMRs / vSMRs in Canada and I whole-heartedly endorse the Statement of Principles for the SMR Action Plan.

The Town of Deep River is keenly interested to do more to encourage and facilitate the accelerated development and roll-out of SMRs locally, throughout Canada, and globally. We are passionate about becoming the first host community of a vSMR in Canada and to be ambassadors and a real-life demonstration example for small or remote northern communities who may not yet have a comfort level with nuclear.

The Town’s interest and motivation in vSMRs comes both from our history as Canada’s first nuclear community and our vision for the future. We want to ensure both that Canadians and Canadian communities mitigate the ravages of climate change caused by emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

The Town of Deep River sees its role as being the first municipality in Canada to have an operating vSMR because:

  • We have a strong, local social license supporting nuclear - based on knowledgeable and supportive residents and businesses who are comfortable and familiar with nuclear science and power and support advancing nuclear technology,
  • We have an ideal infrastructure where the heat and power can be used in publicly owned facilities for public benefit,
  • We are a prominent, easily accessible location to showcase vSMR technology to other communities, and
  • We are a diverse community of many cultures who naturally and frequently travel and will undertake grass-roots communication of the positive benefits of nuclear and vSMR technology.

Our vision is to continue to be an innovative, sustainable, 100% carbon neutral, nuclear community, embracing nuclear and a variety of non-fossil fuel energy sources (we have solar installations on most municipal buildings). Innovation extends to our local citizens, who for example, developed a not-for-profit Internet Service Provider company (Weesoe Community Communications Technology) to tackle local challenges with access to high speed internet by developing a WiFi tower based network with operating profits donated to the local hospital. Deep River has a proud 75 year history in nuclear technology and we need and want to establish a path to another 75+ years as municipal leaders and innovators of the next generation of nuclear and low carbon technologies and their applications to Canadian and global communities.


Deep River as First vSMR host community in Canada

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 1


The Town of Deep River is keenly interested in becoming the first Canadian municipality to host a vSMR as both a low carbon heating source for municipal facilities and as a pilot and demonstration model for northern and remote communities who may not have a comfort level and/or experience with nuclear or vSMR technology.

Deep River’s location is advantageous because of our history, significant local support and comfort level for nuclear, our proximity to both the Chalk River Laboratories for science and operating support and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for close oversight and the capacity to more quickly develop and evolve global regulatory standards for SMRs/vSMRs.


Canadians benefit by having an operating demonstration vSMR located in a nuclear comfortable community which mirrors and represents other small or remote Canadian towns yet is also readily accessible located on the Trans-Canada Highway and within 1.45 hours of the Ottawa International Airport

The Town of Deep River benefits by advancing toward our vision of becoming highly sustainable, enhancing our community’s role as nuclear ambassadors, but with the comfort of having both CRL and the CNSC as neighbours to ensure any operational risks or challenges are negligible and quickly resolved.

The County of Renfrew benefits with construction and operational jobs.

The Chalk River Laboratories benefits by having the ability to study and further develop SMR science based on the experience of operating vSMRs on site and in the Town nearby.

The CNSC benefits by being able to provide close oversight of vSMRs and an enhanced ability to contribute to international regulations based on practical operating experience.

Municipal Policy Readiness

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 3


June 2019: Town of Deep River Council articulated the Town’s desire to pilot development of an SMR Small in the Town’s new Strategic Plan.

December 2019, Deep River Council crafted, approved and circulated a resolution calling on all Ontario municipalities, the Province of Ontario and the Prime Minister of Canada to embrace and promote nuclear technology as the best solution to reducing carbon emissions.

April 2020, Council incorporated definitions and for vSMR/SMR in our new municipal Zoning By-law and included provisions to permit a vSMR as a public utility.


Deep River’s council has demonstrated their commitment to being the first municipality in Canada to host a vSMR and to be a model to other communities.

A “Social License” for nuclear is not an issue within the Deep River community. Our citizens are aware of and broadly support the municipality’s desire to develop the first municipal vSMR in the Town of Deep River.

From a Planning Act perspective, the municipality is well positioned to build the first operational vSMR.

Deep River is willing and able to promote and demonstrate a vSMR to other Canadian and international communities.

Public Outreach, Peer-to-Peer support

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 1, 3


The Town of Deep River along with the Canadian Association of Nuclear Host Communities (CANHC) are willing, prepared and ideally suited and situated to be strong, independent credible voices for building a national social licence for the acceptance of vSMR technology as the ideal, low carbon, low risk solution that it is, particularly for northern and remote communities.


With our collective advocacy and ideally a demonstration vSMR operating in a small town environment such as Deep River, other municipalities will see peer municipalities such as Deep River, accepting and benefiting from vSMR technology. Peer-to-peer comparison is one of the strongest ways to garner a social licence and broader acceptance for nuclear energy across Canada.