Should Canada go nuclear? An analysis of Canada’s small modular reactor strategy to meet 2050 net zero goals

Author: 
Date created: 
2022-04-13
Identifier: 
etd21882
Keywords: 
Small modular reactor
Nuclear energy
Net zero
Clean energy
Energy policy
Climate change Canada
Abstract: 

Like most developed countries, Canada wants to reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. Doing so involves major decarbonization of Canada’s energy sector. A major question is how to switch our current energy sector from fossil fuels to clean energy production while meeting energy demand and current employment rates. International organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have recommended a large increase in the world’s nuclear energy production. A major barrier to constructing conventional nuclear power plants has been the complex regulations and large cost overruns of traditional reactors. Instead, the nuclear industry, and Canada aim to begin constructing Small Modular Reactors (SMR). These will potentially allow the nuclear industry to standardize production, realize scale economies in construction, and lower the regulatory burden. By building the reactor within a factory, companies hope to save time and costs relative to on-site construction. The question this paper addresses is how do we do that in Canada, and how much nuclear energy should we generate to meet our Net-Zero goals by 2050? The recommendation is based on analysis of the current literature and 10 expert interviews.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
John Richards
Department: 
Arts & Social Sciences: School of Public Policy
Thesis type: 
(Project) M.P.P.
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