The Alberta Government met with the Korean government and Korean energy agencies to discuss potential uses of Korean nuclear energy technologies in Alberta. On top of promoting international relations and trade, Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Northern Development Brian Jean explained this could be a big way to reduce carbon emissions.
"Both the Alberta government and the federal government have signaled openness to SMR (Small Modular Reactor) technologies as a potential tool to reduce emissions. Commitments, including financial commitments, from the Korean government and its agencies that they are looking for a private sector partner to allow them to deploy their approved SMR design have captured Alberta’s interest," he said.
SMRs are nuclear power generators that are considerably smaller than your average nuclear power plant. While this technology would be new to Alberta, the technology has been around since the 1960s when it was used in nuclear submarines, among other uses.
If brought to Alberta, SMRs would be used as an energy source to produce heat and steam. Oil sands currently use natural gas boilers to produce heat and steam, which pushes the heavy oil up, but we could see SMRs take over this role.
Minister of Trade, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Rajan Sawhney added the government is ready to help Korean companies find Albertan energy partners to make SMR technology in Alberta a reality.
"We have agreed to provide pathfinding services to these Korean agencies as they seek a private sector partner. We are prepared to assist SMR proponents in securing federal government support like the recently announced federal backing for Ontario Power Generation’s SMR project in Ontario,” she said.
As for Korea, the government owned company KAERI is looking to bring its SMART SMR technology to our province, and the Korean government said they're open to financial assistance and a variety of export development support to early purchasers of this SMR design.
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