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Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation

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Overview

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) is a leading developer of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and associated nuclear fuels. It was founded in 2011 by a team of highly specialized material scientists, physicists, and engineers. USNC’s Canadian operations are headquartered in Ottawa, and together with its corporate head office in Seattle, USA, and satellite offices in South Africa, Europe/UK and South Korea, USNC’s global team now numbers over 50 employees. USNC designs and manufactures “micro” SMR nuclear energy systems to deliver safe, clean, cost-effective power and heat to off-grid applications such as mines, energy projects and remote communities. The applications range from 5MW to 50MW.

Since 2016, USNC has been exclusively focused on the Canadian market as its global launch point and is now the first Gen IV reactor in the world to enter licensing. USNC has also entered into a joint venture with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) called Global First Power (GFP) to build its first operating plant at the Canadian Nuclear Labs (CNL) site in Chalk River and has entered into an agreement with CNL to co-develop its fuel.

GFP will build, own, and operate a proposed Micro Modular Reactor (MMR™) Project at the Chalk River Laboratories site. The joint venture is owned equally by OPG and USNC-Power, the Canadian subsidiary of USNC, and is based on the project initiated in 2019 by GFP. Headquartered in Ottawa, GFP will act on behalf of the joint venture to oversee the proposed MMR™ Project and provide project development, licensing, construction and operation of the commercial demonstration reactor at Chalk River. It will serve as a model for potential future MMR™ projects across Canada, to provide safe and sustainable low carbon power and heat to industries, such as mining, and remote communities.

Canada’s SMR Roadmap recognizes that SMRs can help Canada achieve a low-carbon future. It calls on the federal government and provincial governments interested in SMRs to provide funding to cost-share with industry in one or more SMR demonstration projects for advanced reactor designs. “Demonstration projects and early deployments in Canada,” notes the Report, “will be important to anchor benefits—science and technology, intellectual property, supply chain, jobs—in Canada.” USNC could not agree more.

SMRs are poised to contribute to Canada’s success in meeting its climate change commitments. Deployment of SMRs will smooth Canada’s pathway to a low-carbon future by enabling the complete phase-out of conventional coal-fired and diesel generated electricity, deep decarbonization of heavy and extractive industries, and new opportunities for the radical transformation of the underpinning of our industrial base from one driven by fossil fuels to an economy powered by clean energy. SMRs will also help to rejuvenate the stagnant Canadian nuclear industry and offer new revenue opportunities for major utilities, power providers, project developers and the nuclear industry supply chain globally.

SMRs represent an emerging global market in excess of US$190 billion and Canada has an opportunity to become a world leader. SMRs are uniquely positioned to serve two key roles in Canada’s economic recovery:

  • enable and accelerate Canada’s clean energy strategy (it is unlikely that Canada can achieve its net zero targets in 2050 without adoption of SMRs); and
  • achieve a direct economic benefit today by creating immediate net new jobs (up to 1,000 for USNC’s Chalk River demonstration site alone by 2022) and spin-off economic activity in Canada’s energy and construction sectors in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The time to act is now, as the promise of SMR benefits is much nearer than many people realize (mid-2020s, not late-2020s). SMR companies are ready to deploy demonstration projects in Canada. USNC is at the forefront, on track to deliver Canada’s first SMR installation early in 2024.

ACTIONS

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Initiatives to reduce SMR capital costs
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
USN01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 38

ACTION

USNC is developing standardized modular SMRs that will be assembled, tested and commissioned in a factory. This approach will allow modules to be built at least cost to end users of the power. It will also reduce the project schedule, and therefore cost, since fabrication of the reactors can be performed in parallel to early works at site.

EXPECTED RESULTS

The modular approach results in low-cost SMRs that are easy to transport and quick to erect and are scalable and adaptable.

USNC is committed to delivering a guaranteed long term energy cost to end users of $0.15 to $0.20/kWh at moderate scale (50%+ energy cost reduction as compared to diesel).

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
SMR demonstration projects
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
USN02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 40

ACTION

USNC, through the Global First Power partnership with Ontario Power Generation, is proposing to construct and operate a small modular reactor at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ Chalk River site in Ontario.

EXPECTED RESULTS

This project will serve as a model for the future and demonstrate:

  • a commercially viable solution that provides clean, reliable energy to support Canada’s heavy industry and mining applications or for far north or remote communities
  • a solution that contributes almost no greenhouse gas emissions or smog; and
  • a solution to support Canada’s environment and climate change goals and help build prosperity
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Strategic partnerships and business models
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
USN03

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 41

ACTION

In July 2020 Global First Power Ltd. (GFP), Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation™ (USNC) and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced the formation of a joint venture – the Global First Power Limited Partnership – which will build, own, and operate the proposed Micro Modular Reactor (MMR™) Project at the Chalk River Laboratories site. The joint venture is owned equally by OPG and USNC-Power, the Canadian subsidiary of USNC, and is based on the project initiated in 2019 by GFP.

EXPECTED RESULTS

The GFP project at Chalk River will demonstrate a model whereby an SMR owner/operator provides reliable and dispatchable energy (that is, energy available on demand according to market needs) to clients under long-term supply contracts. This business proposition reduces the clients’ project and financial risks by eliminating the clients’ capital requirements to build power plants; reducing the energy cost; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and eliminating future energy cost variability.

CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Indigenous Engagement
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
USN04

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 43

ACTION

USNC is committed to maintaining meaningful, two-way engagement with Indigenous peoples and communities on the subject of SMRs, well in advance of specific proposals. USNC wishes to foster support for Micro-SMRs (MMRs), which are increasingly a viable energy supply option for Canada’s remote communities. SMR deployment in remote communities will also serve to create long-term well-paying jobs in these communities while also helping to develop Indigenous-led businesses that support the nuclear industry.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Expected results include greater awareness amongst Indigenous communities of

  • MMRs as a clean energy supply option
  • the economic, environmental and social benefits of MMRs
  • potential partnership opportunities with USNC, including with respect to procurement and employment
  • and the near-term viability of MMRs (mid-2020s)
DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Engagement with the Regulator
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
USN05

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 44

ACTION

In April 2020 USNC, GFP and OPG together submitted the first regulatory application for a SMR in Canada. Submission of the application to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) builds on collaborative efforts of many organizations with the vision to bring the benefits of SMRs to Canada.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Complete Phase 2 of pre-licensing Vendor Design Review by mid-2021 with a view towards full deployment by end of 2024.

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Strategic partnerships and business models
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
USN06

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 46

ACTION

The GFP MMR™ Project is in the third stage of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories' four-stage process to site a demonstration SMR at Chalk River Laboratories, a site owned by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and operated by CNL.

EXPECTED RESULTS

GFP has entered into a project hosting agreement with CNL, which sets the framework for GFP and CNL to complete a land-use agreement and ultimately move to the fourth and final stage.

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Fleet deployment pathways
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
USN07

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 47

ACTION

USNC is committed to relying on the Canadian nuclear supply chain to the largest extent possible. To ensure that domestic suppliers are ready for the upcoming opportunities, USNC has been proactive in communicating progress towards a first MMR deployment at Chalk River. USNC is currently engaged with multiple domestic nuclear suppliers including construction, engineering, and fuel supply firms.

USNC hosted an OCNI Supplier Forum on June 24th to communicate its desire to rely on the Canadian supply chain to the extent possible.

EXPECTED RESULTS

The expected outcome is a domestic nuclear supply chain that has seamlessly adapted to SMRs.