I am impressed with your website! I’m a resident of Pinawa and will be voting for a councillor.
I am wondering what you know about the benefits and risks of small modular (nuclear) reactors to Pinawa and to the environment?
Do you have a stand for or against SMRs and Pinawa being a demonstration partner?
Your welcome to post my question and your response.
Hi Kelly! Thank you for the compliment. I’m glad you find value in my writing.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it showed what can happen when policy decisions are based on political posturing rather than the best available science. I am not a nuclear technician and I have never worked at AECL. I studied public policy, environmental politics, economics, and law. I work for the National Passenger Railway Service in On-train Services and Occupational Health and Safety. When it comes to determining the safety of such a project, I will leave that to the experts at the federal regulatory agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The people that work there are much more knowledgable about Atomic Fission than myself. According to the CNSC, Small Modular Reactors are regulated the same way as any other reactor in Canada.
I feel confident in the safety of this project as nuclear power generation is a heavily regulated activity and falls under the jurisdiction of numerous federal acts such as:
- Nuclear Safety and Control Act (NSCA)
- Impact Assessment Act (formerly the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act)
- Canadian Environmental Protection Act
- Fisheries Act
- Migratory Birds Convention Act
- Species at Risk Act
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act
- Nuclear Energy Act
- Nuclear Fuel Waste Act
- Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act
- Nuclear Terrorism Act
- Radiation Emitting Devices Act
SMRs have many safety systems including a passive shutdown, which means that even during a loss of grid power, it can still dissipate the thermal energy and safely shut down the reactor.
Some people think of the Starcore SMR project in terms of power generation, but that is only partially correct. The potential of this goes well beyond creating many well paying jobs constructing the facility, managing the reactor, and maintaining infrastructure. The SMR demonstration reactor with Pinawa as a partner community, should actually be seen as a very niche marketing project. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick have signed a deal to explore using small modular reactors as a way to reduce their dependance on fossil fuels at a time when reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a national priority. Representatives will be coming from these places and from around the world to see this technology. It doesn’t need to stop at the reactor site. My vision is to attract and demonstrate other complimentary technologies, programs, and initiatives in our town.
The Small Modular Reactor Demonstration Site is marketing its product to a specific group. These visitors will have money to spend, they might stay in a nice hotel, eat at a fine restaurant, and occasionally purchase multi-million dollar pieces of new tech! The marketing potential of being a town powered by this brand new technology is immense. There are some potentially lucrative investment opportunities, and wouldn’t we all love a brand new restaurant in town?
Attracting economic development and investment is part of ensuring our future economic sustainability. Being able to bring a specialized high tech operation to a small town is a big opportunity. Pinawa is well suited to this project, and I believe that the Starcore demonstration reactor combines nicely with my platform of promoting true sustainable practices, policies, and economic initiatives within the town. The SMR demonstration project would instantly make Pinawa a recognized name in the green innovation community during the coming decades when transitioning to a low-carbon society will be the stimulus for the global economy.
Thank you for your question.
*This article was reviewed by a Nuclear Environmental Specialist to ensure accuracy.