Message from the Minister

December 17, 2020

Seventy-eight years ago, Canada began a legacy of nuclear excellence as the second country ever to produce nuclear power. Today, we are a Tier-1 nuclear nation with capabilities from mining and research and development to building reactors, managing waste and more.  

We have a proud history of expertise in this field, with a quarter of our Nobel prizes related to nuclear science. We’re also the second-largest producer of uranium and account for 40 percent of the world’s supply of Cobalt-60 – used to sterilize medical equipment such as gloves and syringes.

Quite simply: Canada is really good at this. And Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) represent the next great opportunity for Canada – helping us to phase out coal and electrify carbon-intensive industries such as mining and petroleum extraction.

Canada’s SMR Action Plan builds on the 2018 SMR Roadmap and is the product of more than 100 partners from across the country – provinces and territories, utilities, industry, academia, labour, civil society and Indigenous voices – that have come together to outline a shared effort to make SMRs a reality.

In the face of the existential threat of climate change, Canada is investing in the full suite of the energy technologies we will need to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Nuclear energy is part of achieving these objectives. We also see tremendous potential to expand safe nuclear technologies – in Canada and around the world.

We will continue to modernize policies for the long-term management of Canada’s radioactive waste. We want to build on our strong policies and ensure that they are based on the best available science, continue to meet best international practices and reflect the values and principles of Canadians.

With this Action Plan, you will hear more about our government's continued support for SMRs, as well as from each of our partners, including: the innovators and research institutions working to develop SMR technologies; the governments and power utilities planning to deploy them; the robust supply chain that will support them; and the communities that will host them.

You will also hear how we have built on our relationship with our partners – in sectors such as mining, oil and gas, renewables and civil society. We have strengthened our relationships with critical labour union partners, including the Power Workers Union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the International Union of Operating Engineers and others.

SMRs offer the next great opportunity for Canada. This work is enabling us to double down on our common mission: a net-zero economy by 2050; a global economy that continues to grow; a strong path for reconciliation with Indigenous peoples; and an energy future that leaves no one behind.

That is our mission. And Canada will lead.

The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Natural Resources