Alberta government provides funding for small modular nuclear reactor research

Alberta Legislature -Government Web Media
Alberta Legislature -Government Web Media

The Government of Alberta is providing funding for a multi-year study into small modular nuclear reactors.

The study will explore how the reactors could be used in oil sand operations and what information might be needed to explore regulatory approval in the future.

$7 million from the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction Fund is going to Cenovus Energy’s study.

“A few years ago, the idea of expanding nuclear energy use was on the back burner – that is no longer the case. In Alberta, small modular nuclear reactors have the potential to supply heat and power to the oil sands, simultaneously reducing emissions and supporting Alberta’s energy future,” said the Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, Rebecca Schulz.

“This funding is the foundation for that promising future. I want to thank Cenovus Energy and Emissions Reduction Alberta for their leadership in this work.”

The nuclear reactors could potentially provide non-emitting heat and power to Alberta’s oil sands.

Funding provided by the provincial government through Emissions Reduction Alberta is assisting in the work of exploring how the technology could be productively used in Alberta.

“Small modular reactors have great potential to supply non-emitting energy in many different applications, including the oil sands,” said Chief Executive Officer of Emissions Reduction Alberta, Justin Riemer.

“Further studies like this are needed to see if the technology is suitable for those industrial applications. If so, it could be transformational for the in-situ oil sands sector and other sectors in Alberta.”

Cenovus Energy’s study will be a $26.7-million study to look at whether small modular nuclear reactor technology can be applied to steam-assisted projects.

These projects drill into the oil reservoir and inject steam to soften the oil for easier removal.

Alberta Innovates released a study on the feasibility of small modular reactors which is an early step to see if it will be implemented in Alberta.

The reactors would assist in Alberta’s plan to reduce emissions from industry operations.

There are currently no projects being planned however, the study will frame the discussion about future operations.

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