At a webinar focusing on the benefits and opportunities for SMRs as an energy solution for mining and mineral extraction, CNL president and CEO Joe McBrearty said small modular reactors could transform the way the country's mining industry is powered.
"SMRs represent a real opportunity for the mining sector to reduce its carbon footprint and protect its bottom line, while embracing a clean energy technology that recent polling has shown over 87% of Canadians support, or are open to, as an alternative to fossil fuels."
Parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources Paul Lefebvre noted that Canada is both a major mining entity and a leading nuclear nation.
"SMRs are a potential tool to meet our goal of net zero emissions by 2050," he said.
The webinar discussed the role of government in supporting the deployment of SMR technology and the opportunity Canada has to lead on the development of off-grid very small modular reactors (vSMRs).
CNL identified SMRs as one of several initiatives to pursue, along with a demonstration project it manages on a site managed by nuclear science and technology laboratory, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.
"Mining is a key industry that stands to benefit from SMRs, and not just from an environmental perspective. SMRs can also unlock new opportunities for mining companies, opening up remote or otherwise inaccessible locations to resource exploration and extraction," said CNL project manager of SMR development Keyes Niemer.
"[But] to successfully bring this technology online here in Canada, it will require a broad coalition of industry leaders and policymakers who understand the long-term advantages to this clean energy solution."