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In a commentary in the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) newsletter, the Association argues that one of Canada’s strengths in electricity generation has been, and continues to be, its diversity of technologies. Canada’s electricity is 80% GHG emissions-free. This has come about through a mixture of hydropower, nuclear generation, and renewables. Canadians cannot expect that the future of the industry can rely on renewables alone. CNA questions whether a 100% renewable electricity system is even possible.

The CNA challenges a report by the Suzuki Foundation that asserts that 100% emissions-free electricity is possible by 2035 without nuclear power and fossil-fuel generation supported by carbon capture, utilization, and storage. The Association questions the faith the report’s authors put in technologies that are under development and unproven at the scale that would be necessary to replace existing technologies.

The Association agrees that renewables will play an important role in the industry’s future, as will the storage necessary to integrate them into the grid. However, the nuclear industry is concerned that its significance has been under-appreciated by federal policy makers. In contrast, Saskatchewan, Alberta, New Brunswick, and Ontario have recently signed agreements to develop small modular reactor (SMR) technology. At the same time, they are not relying on that alone to achieve emission-free electricity.