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SMR of nuclear, key in decarbonizing Canada’s heavy industry: study

SMR nuclear Canada

SMR, or Small Modular Reactors of nuclear energy are vital for the decarbonization of Canada’s heavy industry, a new study conducted by the EnviroEconomics and Navius Research; and commissioned by the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA), has found.

Firstly, the study explores the economic and climate benefits and implications of employing SMR’s in Canada’s heavy emitting industrial sectors. As a background, the study found that most Canadians think climate change is a serious issue. 91% of them agree on that, while 86% believe the government should invest in clean energy to address it.

Secondly, nuclear is already one of the largest sources of clean electricity in the world, and particularly in Canada, accounting with 15% of the total generation. However, the SMRs are the ones that have a pivotal role in decarbonizing hard industry sectors.

Thirdly, the study found that between 2035-2050, SMR could reduce GHG emissions by 216 megatonnes (Mt) in the heavy industrial sector; which is equivalent to removing all current emissions from the oil and gas sector for a one-year period in Canada.

Also, the study concluded that, overall, SMR could contribute to getting to net zero by reducing GHG emissions by 14 Mt per year on average; which is equivalent to taking over 3 million cars off the road per year.

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SMR lower cost option when compared with CCUS and RNG

Moreover, this technology could also lower the country’s cost of reaching net zero by more than 5%; and also contribute up to $5 billion to GDP annually by 2050. This means that, by using SMR as a GHG reduction method in large industry, SMRs would create opportunities for scarce technologies; such as hydrogen and renewable gas, to reduce GHG emissions.

Consequently, SMRs provide a lower cost of decarbonization for the industry, when compared with other technologies such as hydrogen, carbon capture utilization and storage, renewable natural gas, and others.

In addition, John Gorman, President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA), said. “Canada’s economy is built on the advantage of extensive, rich natural resources. But it’s a double-edged sword when it comes addressing climate change.”

He also added: “We must focus on decarbonizing the oil and gas industry; the transportation, and chemical manufacturing ones, in an environmentally and economically advantageous way. This is where new research demonstrates that SMRs have the potential to be a gamechanger in Canada.”

Finally, he concluded. “This research has profound implications around how clean nuclear energy can play a fundamental role in helping Canada meet its 2050 emission reduction goals.”

Check the full study here, and an executive version, here.

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