Small Modular Reactors

Canada / Terrestrial Energy And Cameco Sign MOU On Worldwide SMR Deployment

By David Dalton
14 October 2021

Companies will also evaluate opportunities for fuel supply
Terrestrial Energy And Cameco Sign MOU On Worldwide SMR Deployment
Illustration of an IMSR power plant in the configuration proposed for the Darlington site in Canada. The IMSR has the capacity to generate 390 MW (net) of electric power on a 7-hectare site. Courtesy Terrestrial Energy.
Small modular reactor developer Terrestrial Energy and uranium company Cameco have signed a memorandum of understanding to examine potential partnership opportunities to deploy Terrestrial Energy’s integrated molten salt reactor (IMSR) Generation IV nuclear power plants in North America and worldwide, and to evaluate possible opportunities for the supply of uranium, fuel and other services.

The two Canadian companies said in a joint statement that they are investigating the potential of Cameco’s Port Hope uranium conversion facility in southern Ontario for IMSR fuel salt supply.

This MOU, which is non-binding and non-exclusive, follows Terrestrial Energy’s earlier agreements with Cameco to supply uranium products for its fuel testing programmes.

“Nuclear energy is a proven, reliable source of carbon-free power and a critical tool in achieving a net-zero emissions future in North America and worldwide,” said Tim Gitzel, Cameco’s president and chief executive officer. “Cameco plans to be a key fuel supplier for the emerging small modular reactor and advanced reactor market.”

Cameco is a provider of uranium, refining, conversion, fuel fabrication and component manufacturing services for the global nuclear energy industry. The company is one of the world’s largest producers of uranium fuel for nuclear power generation, including supplying fuel and fuel assemblies for Candu reactors in Canada and abroad.

The IMSR plant is one of three SMRs under consideration for deployment at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington nuclear power station. It is one of two Generation IV technology candidates under consideration by OPG. The others are designs by GE Hitachi and X-energy. The IMSR400 is one of two Generation IV technology candidates and the only Canadian technology candidate.

The IMSR plant is a proprietary design drawing on Generation IV reactor technology developed and demonstrated over many decades. Using molten salt reactor technology, the IMSR400 generates electric power 50% more efficiently than conventional nuclear power plants that use water-cooled and water-moderated reactor technology.

According to Terrestrial Energy, with this 50% efficiency improvement, the IMSR has a reduced capital requirement and waste footprint, and improved economics per kWh of electricity for new nuclear power plants.

The IMSR uses nuclear fuel at standard enrichment – the only Generation IV SMR power plant designed to do this today. This avoids the considerable cost and time of re-licensing uranium enrichment plants and removes hurdles to commercialisation, Terrestrial Energy said.

In August, Terrestrial Energy signed an agreement with Westinghouse and the UK National Nuclear Laboratory to advance the industrial scaleup and commercial supply of enriched uranium fuel.

Pen Use this content