New Build

Canada / SNC-Lavalin Report Calls For Aggressive Nuclear New-Build Programme

By David Dalton
12 March 2021

SNC-Lavalin Report Calls For Aggressive Nuclear New-Build Programme
The Bruce nuclear power station in Canada. Courtesy Bruce Power.
The licensing process for an “aggressive” programme of siting 1,000 MW class commercial nuclear power reactors should begin immediately if Canada is to meet its net-zero electricity targets, a report by Canada-based engineering company SNC-Lavalin says.

According to the report, one such reactor could be brought into service every year from 2030 to 2050. Once small modular reactor designs are complete, three 300-MW SMR units could be added to the grid each year from around 2035 to 2050.

While aggressive, this accelerated new-build scenario is less than the nuclear new build rates that both China and India are achieving today, the report says.

The report says significant new clean electrical capacity will be needed to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050. Canada will need to triple its power production levels over the next 30 years. This will require the development of all the available zero-carbon generation technologies simultaneously including offshore wind in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, hydro plants in remote locations, and “large nuclear facilities across Canada”.

Canada’s nuclear share from its 19 commercial reactors is 14%, but the report says this should be increased to 24% by 2050. Canada has no commercial reactors under construction.

Other than hydro electricity, which is location bound, nuclear offers the only zero-GHG emitting baseload power generation with assured security of supply and is an essential component for a stable energy system.

If this challenge were to be met using only one power generation type, adding 1,000 TWh would translate into 115 x 1,100 MW-sized large hydro reservoirs; 200 wind farms with 100 turbines; 20,000 x 10 MW-sized wind turbines; more than 400 GW of solar; 114 x 1,000 MW large nuclear reactors; or 380 x 300 MW small modular reactors.

Pen Use this content