Commentary

Small Nuclear Reactors Will Help New Brunswick Combat Climate Change

Norman JD Sawyer. Image: submitted.

Norman JD Sawyer, a native New Brunswicker, has almost four decades of significant leadership experience in the nuclear industry and is now the president and CEO, ARC Nuclear Canada, Inc.

New Brunswick is on the cusp of an opportunity that could help change the economic trajectory of our beautiful province while addressing climate change.

In 2018, ARC Nuclear Canada, Inc. (ARC Canada) established its office in Saint John, New Brunswick when the provincial government announced the nuclear innovation cluster funding program, for which ARC Canada was chosen as a participant.

With this announcement, the province instantly became a climate change policy leader for Canada with the development of small modular reactors (SMRs). Since that time, ARC Canada has proceeded with purpose to develop its proven technology right here in New Brunswick with today’s advanced knowledge in nuclear science and waste management.

With success as the goal, an effective plan in place, and strengthening momentum, ARC Canada has been laying its foundation in the Province of New Brunswick.

With pre-existing pillars that give our province advantages over most places in North America for ARC Canada’s emerging technology development, New Brunswick offers a “Fit-for-Service” site, a safe and effective nuclear operator, a flexible work force, knowledgeable residents who understand the overall benefits of safe and non-emitting energy generation and an ideal academia to support research and development.

ARC Canada has donated a half million dollars to the University of New Brunswick and has engaged the University of Moncton to potentially synergize efforts to expand innovation objectives.

The re-establishment of academic programs is just one of many accomplishments on ARC Canada’s timeline. The establishment of partnerships with organizations with proven track records such as AECOM Canada Nuclear Operations, Inc, Worley Canada Services Ltd, and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to support our initiatives make this opportunity a real possibility for New Brunswick.

RELATED: Environmentalists Say Small Nuclear Reactors Aren’t A Climate Change Solution

The benefits of ARC Canada’s efforts for our province is two-fold. First, ARC Canada’s SMR technology development provides an economic development opportunity both directly and indirectly across the province of New Brunswick. Secondly, it addresses a commitment to future generations; mitigating carbon emitting energy sources.

This latter concern is real, and science does not lie. Currently the globe is exceeding the original carbon emission projection, making the situation even more critical. Even with all our scientific data, we are not meeting standards established in the Paris Agreement in 2016. Industry experts and climate change enthusiasts agree that this is the necessary shift that must occur. In addition to helping the fight against climate change, our province’s environmental stewardship can also lead to a much-needed economic opportunity by providing well-paying jobs.

Renewable energy such as wind and solar is absolutely part of the solution but we must recognize that these sources are inconsistent in nature and require a partnership with reliable non-emitting energy sources.

ARC Canada’s advanced proven SMR technology is inherently safe and provides the supporting energy requirements for renewables when intermittent wind is not available, which can be as high as 70 percent of the time. Further, in comparison to older technology, our technology significantly decreases fueling frequency from several times a week, to once every 20-years providing significant reduction in waste generation.

The provincial government has played a critical role to initiate this opportunity. Of course, there are always hurdles to be cleared in a project of this scope. In 2019, a solid foundation has been established by ARC Canada. Many agree that this project should be considered a possible economic growth enabler for New Brunswick and with the Federal Government support, success is on the horizon.

Huddle publishes commentaries from groups and individuals on important business issues facing the Maritimes. These commentaries do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Huddle. To submit a commentary for consideration, contact editor Mark Leger: [email protected]