Emerging Frontiers: Economic Impacts of Very Small Nuclear Reactors in Remote Off-Grid Mining

The Conference Board of Canada, 2 pages, October 28, 2020
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This summary for executives looks at the benefits and challenges of using of very small modular nuclear reactors (vSMRs) in Canada’s mining industry

Document Highlights

Cost-competitive and zero-emissions mining is an opportunity for Canada. Very small modular nuclear reactors (vSMRs) offer this potential paradigm shift. This is particularly true for Northern, remote, and off-grid mines, which are an important part of Canada’s mining future but are challenged by their dependence on diesel generators for electricity.

We estimated the economic impact of deploying vSMRs at a new, remote, off-grid mine in Northern Ontario. Some highlights:

  • For every dollar of direct GDP generated, $1.05 of indirect and induced impacts could be produced in Ontario. The equivalent figure for Canada as a whole is $1.66.
  • vSMRs offer an opportunity for Canada to gain a foothold in a relatively immature fuel supply chain.
  • The global mining industry is under pressure to decarbonize, and this challenge will only intensify. Developing Canadian vSMR vendors, manufacturing capabilities, and intellectual property could increase export opportunities.

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