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United Nations Association in Canada

Overview

The Role of SMRs in the Low-Carbon Energy Sector:

The New Diplomacy event on June 25th 2020 was a day for young professionals to discuss, debate and negotiate the role of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in the Decarbonized Energy System in Canada and the rest of the world.  Delegates were placed into four different perspectives for the day which were Government, Industry, Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGO) and Indigenous perspectives which were led by subject matter experts.  By the end of the day a resolution was written describing the necessary actions to be taken to have SMRs implemented in Canada and meet the criteria of all the respective stakeholders and rights holders. The resolution was expanded on and is demonstrated below.

We recognize the ability for nuclear energy and SMRs to reduce GHG emissions while developing the technology to become cost-competitive with fossil fuels. SMRs unlike renewables have the ability to replace fossil fuels as baseload power allowing for a complimentary pair of SMRs and renewables with all energy produced being non-carbon emitting.  This would be a large positive step towards climate change mitigation.

Bearing in mind public health and safety is a top priority before, during, and after implementation. Beyond this, it is important to mention we fully believe in equal opportunities and economic growth from SMR development along with the necessity to develop educational programs to foster interest in the STEM fields related to nuclear technology while creating scholarships to provide rural and indigenous community members with educational opportunities.

Recognizing the inherent biases associated with internal monitoring, we request the government of New Brunswick establish a third party monitoring organization mandated with quarterly assessments to ensure compliance to the established and emergent standards and ensure transparency between representatives, developers, and the residents of the province. It is important to note that all stakeholders need more information including robust R&D to develop a proven model that compares the cost and environmental benefits, efficiency, and safety of SMRs to other energy production sources. Again, meaningful and equal opportunity is critical as we urge there to be collaboration with representatives from industry, government, indigenous rights-holders, and major stakeholders to hold regular meetings aimed at fostering a dialogue with the public.

With this in mind, us as young professionals can actively promote and support SMR development in Canada. In doing this, conversations with regards to SMR development will be ongoing. As a result of these conversations involving representatives and the public we hope to increase awareness of SMRs due to improved education, reduce nuclear stigma making for a more comfortable conversation and continuously engaging others in this conversation to become a more common topic. Bearing in mind that various parties may have a difference in opinions regarding the development of SMRs, it is critical that we actively engage others in this conversation.

ACTIONS

CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Engaging others on topic of SMRs
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
UN01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 3, 5, 7

ACTIONS

  • Broach the topic of SMRs in climate change conversations.
  • Encourage conversations involving nuclear power and SMRs.
  • Perform background research to ensure conveyed information is factual.
  • During conversations regarding SMRs promote their inherent safety.
  • Build professional network and share information about SMRs on professional networking sites eg. LinkedIn.           

EXPECTED RESULTS

  • Increase the frequency at which SMRs are involved in conversations regarding energy and climate change.
  • Increased education and awareness within the public with respect to SMRs.
  • Allowing the conversations regarding SMRs to become more comfortable due to reduced nuclear stigma.