Print Friendly, PDF & Email
The Honourable Jonathon Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources Canada

The federal government has agreed to loan the Darlington Energy Complex $970 million for the development of a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) that will be designed to be grid-connected and commercially viable. The funds will be advanced by the Canada Infrastructure Bank at a discounted interest rate. Ontario Power Generation (OPG), which owns the Darlington facility, will develop the reactor. OPG has awarded the design work to GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy, a venture formed by General Electric and Hitachi. The design will be based on an existing model that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has already certified.

The capacity of the SMR will be no greater than 300 MW. That is under a third of the capacity of each reactor now installed at Darlington. Although the technology is still unproven at commercial scale, SMRs have the potential to meet some of the electricity industry’s existing challenges. First, nuclear energy is a clean form of energy and the government expects it to contribute to achieving Canada’s emissions reduction goals. The smaller design, it is hoped, will have two additional benefits. The facility’s components will rely more on manufacturing than construction. Many can be produced off-site and standardized. That should lead to lower costs. Also, the scale of SMRs makes them suitable for installation in small communities in remote areas. This could displace diesel, upon which many such communities now depend.

The developer is targeting late 2028 for the facility to begin to provide power to the Ontario grid.