ASET Technology Alberta Winter 2023 - 17

feature
" IN SHORT, the province is committed
to exploring and supporting novel
and emerging technologies with the
potential to reduce emissions, diversify
the economy, and create jobs. We are
well positioned to adopt nuclear energy,
and will continue working with other
provinces, nuclear stakeholders and
the federal government to explore and
promote nuclear technologies. "
SMRs can potentially reduce the carbon emissions in the
oil and gas field by serving as the heating element that converts
water to steam. Steam, with hot water and electricity,
is used for heating hydrocarbon mixtures in separating columns,
preheating crude oil, heating piping systems and in
distillation processes like fractional distillation, which separates
a mixture into component parts.
Alberta Innovates, in cooperation with the Canadian Oil
Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), funded SMR feasibility
studies completed by Pacific Northwest National Laboratories
to better understand the potential of nuclear energy
in the province. Both studies found that SMR technologies
could provide electricity and high temperature process
steam for the oil sands facilities used as references, and
explored other uses of SMRs for technologies such as hydrogen
production. The research institute continues to fund
studies and technology projects supporting the assessment
and development of SMRs.
Alberta Innovates is also leading the development of an
SMR consortium to support the growth of the ecosystem
in the province. This consortium is focused on technology
development, attracting and developing talent, supporting
supply chain development, fostering Indigenous priorities
through engagement, and public outreach. The consortium
will examine all possible applications of SMRs, including
heat-intensive industrial deployment and on-grid deployment
in which SMRs can complement renewable generation.
SMRs for community generation and economic development
are also under examination.
The collaborative nature of the consortium could speed up
the process of nuclear development, which is historically
slow and hampered by false starts. Vanessa White, executive
director of clean technology with Alberta Innovates,
says this consortium is an important component to provincial
development. " Through that consortium, we are planning
on investigating all the possible applications of SMRs
in Alberta, " she explains.
White says the work of the consortium will commence in earnest
in the new year. " We're hoping to have those agreements
in place and to dig deeper into the strategy in early 2024. "
Despite the optimism and plans in place for nuclear development,
energy experts and environmental advocates have
raised longstanding concerns. These problems are profound,
and can't be solved simply by shrinking the reactor
vessel, they argue.
M.V. Ramana is a professor and Simons Chair for Disarmament
at the University of British Columbia. In an Environmental
Working Group (EWG) article he co-authored with
nuclear engineer and President of the Institute of Energy
and Environmental Research, Arjun Makhijani, Ramana
brings up several points relating to both scale and mass
production.
" A reactor that produces three times as much power as an
SMR does not need three times as much steel or three times
as many workers, " the article writes.
" The road to such mass manufacturing will be rocky. Even
with optimistic assumptions about how quickly manufacturers
could learn to improve production efficiencies and lower
cost, thousands of SMRs, which would be higher priced in
comparison to large reactors, would have to be manufactured
for the price per kilowatt for an SMR to be comparable
to that of a large reactor, " it continues.
" The problem is that these small reactors might be cheaper,
but they will produce way less electricity compared to the
large reactors as well, " Ramana says, speaking to ASET.
This means the small reactors will lose out on economies
of scale.
TECHNOLOGY ALBERTA | WINTER 2023 | 17
https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/publications/magazines/bulletin/bull29-3/29304781925.pdf https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/publications/magazines/bulletin/bull29-3/29304781925.pdf https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/186487/construction-delays-make-nuclear-power-plants/

ASET Technology Alberta Winter 2023

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Contents
ASET Technology Alberta Winter 2023 - Cover
ASET Technology Alberta Winter 2023 - 2
ASET Technology Alberta Winter 2023 - 3
ASET Technology Alberta Winter 2023 - Contents
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ASET Technology Alberta Winter 2023 - Cover2
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