Potential of Small Modular Reactors in Hard-to-Decarbonize Industries
Achieving Canada’s 2050 net-zero target will require all sectors to have a pathway for full decarbonization.
Given Canada’s resource-based industrial structure, achieving net-zero emissions poses an enormous challenge. It is a challenge so pressing that we need to consider all potential options that could help achieve Canada’s net-zero emissions target. While policymakers or the public may not support any given option in the end, it is important that the options be examined and discussed.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) have been proposed by the federal government and by four provincial governments as a technological option to help in Canada’s decarbonization efforts.
Pollution Probe believes it is in the public interest to consider all potential options that could help achieve Canada’s net-zero emissions target. To understand how SMRs could contribute to Canada’s decarbonization, Pollution Probe commissioned modelling on their potential roles and impacts in industrial decarbonization. We then convened a workshop that engaged a range of industries which might use SMRs to reduce their GHG emissions. The workshop participants identified several barriers to SMR deployment, and they explored how those barriers might be addressed.
This paper contains the results of the modelling and the workshop, and also identifies some outstanding issues that would need to be explored. It is intended to stimulate informed discussion by governments, industry, and the public.