The federal government is investing big in what some believe could be a game changer.
François-Philippe Champagne, the minister of innovation, science and industry, was at Westinghouse Electric Canada Inc.’s Burlington facility on March 17 to announce a $27.2-million investment in the development of small modular reactor (SMR) technology.
Specifically, the funding will support the eVinci micro-reactor, which supporters say has the potential to provide a more accessible and transportable source of low-carbon energy.
“The eVinci is basically a nuclear reactor that you put in a container. So, if you think about transportability, if you think about in a way, plug and play that it’s easy to use and it’s safe to use and it’s reliable and responsible, that looks like the technology of the future,” said Champagne.
Potential uses for this technology include providing low cost, safe electricity for isolated communities or locations like mine sites. Currently, power is often generated in those areas using high-carbon producing options like diesel fuel.
Champagne said these reactors could be a part of both Canada’s and the world’s response to what he called the existential threat of climate change.
David Durham, president of energy systems at Westinghouse, said there is enormous potential in this technology.
“It’s not just extremely safe in its design and operation, but that also pretends the ability to have what could be one of the most reliable energy development systems that has been developed to date. So, what could we potentially do with this? Certainly, decarbonizing remote and industrial sites, but the potential applications for heating and combined heat and power, we really see this could revolutionize industry,” said Durham
The Westinghouse family of companies has been involved in nuclear reactor technology development since the 1950s. Its technology is the basis for reactors operating all over the world.
The federal contribution is being made through the Strategic Innovation Fund’s Net Zero Accelerator initiative, which is a program designed to attract and support high-quality business investments across all sectors of the economy.
Karina Gould, Burlington MP, said the investment is good for both the city and the world.
“Today’s announcement at Westinghouse Electric Canada is great news for Burlington. It is great news for our environment and for our economy. The Government of Canada will continue to invest in innovative climate solutions like SMRs to foster a sustainable economy that works for everyone,” said Gould.