Update on Global First Power’s Micro Modular Reactor Project
As Canada’s nuclear regulator, we review applications for new nuclear technology projects, including the Micro Modular Reactor (MMR) project proposed by Global First Power (GFP). GFP has outlined its vision for the site, construction, operation and eventual decommissioning of a single small modular reactor (SMR) at the Chalk River Laboratories site in Renfrew County, Ontario. The project proposes a nuclear plant containing a high-temperature gas-cooled micro modular reactor that would heat an adjacent plant, using molten salt. This reactor would produce about 15 megawatts (thermal) of process heat to generate electrical power and heat over an expected lifespan of 20 years.
Before GFP can move ahead with its plans, we must conduct an environmental assessment (EA) and subsequently grant a licence to prepare the site, if the Commission finds that it meets our expectations with respect to health, safety, security and protecting the environment.
This project was brought to the CNSC in 2019, when GFP submitted a project description that was published for public review. The following year, the Commission met to review the scope of the EA and published its record of decision, which outlined that only factors in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 would be considered in the EA. CNSC staff have continued their detailed assessment of GFP’s application for a licence to prepare the site.
In fall 2021, a GFP-CNSC Administrative Protocol for the project was established to guide EA and licensing activities, and support project management for the CNSC’s regulatory review of information submitted by GFP. The protocol outlines roles and responsibilities for GFP and CNSC, as well as a framework for the process.
We are now waiting for a draft environmental impact statement (EIS), which GFP anticipates will be ready for review in late 2022. When we receive the draft EIS, we will verify that it includes all necessary information, and once we determine it is in conformity, we will have 90 days to conduct a technical review. The CNSC leads the technical review while working closely with other federal and provincial partners and participating Indigenous communities. In parallel, we will publish the draft EIS on the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry for public review. Participant funding will be offered in the coming months to assist Indigenous Nations and communities and interested members of the public in the review and submission of comments on GFP’s draft EIS.
If you want to learn more about our regulatory role for SMRs and the MMR project, join us for one of our upcoming webinars. We will present a special webinar on the steps involved in the environmental assessment and licensing process for the MMR project on March 22, 2022.
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