Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

Science &
Technology

New Nuclear Technologies

Research activities to maintain and improve the viability, competitiveness, safety and security of nuclear technologies in Canada and abroad, and to provide scientific-based information for regulations, codes, standards and licensing.

Federal priorities, commitments and goals

Overarching federal priorities and goals related to this theme area include:

  • Implement the Pan-Canadian Framework and help achieve Canada’s international greenhouse gas targets by reducing the environmental impacts of energy production, bringing clean electricity onto the grid, reducing industrial emissions, and reducing diesel use in remote communities.
  • Increase competitiveness and promote the use of clean technology—including in Canada’s natural resource sectors—through research, development, and demonstration of innovative nuclear energy technologies.
  • Support the Government of Canada’s Small Modular Reactor initiatives including recommendation linked to the Small Modular Reactor Roadmap and Small Modular Reactor Action Plan.
  • Deliver on Canada’s commitment under Mission Innovation to advance clean energy research, development, and demonstration while encouraging private-sector investment and increasing domestic and international partnerships.
  • Give effect to Canada’s bilateral partnerships on nuclear science and technology with countries such as United States, and United Kingdom, as well as multilateral partnerships including the Nuclear Energy Agency, Clean Energy Ministerial, and the Government’s extension of the Generation IV International Forum Framework Agreement and participation in Generation IV International Forum System Arrangements.
  • Inform potential programs, regulations, and policies of nuclear energy technologies.
  • Provide risk-informed, science-based evidence for regulatory decision making.

Scope of Work

The scope of work in this theme area to address the federal priorities include:

Enhancing the knowledge base for the development and assessment of regulatory/licensing requirements

  • Understanding ageing mechanisms and its impact on failure limits of safety in reactor structures, systems and components.
  • Developing experimental data and predictive models for nuclear power plants.
  • Investigating small reactor technologies and other advanced reactors for Canada in order to provide regulatory guidance and assessments.
  • Assessing the effects of irradiation on the performance of advanced nuclear materials.

Supporting the development of new energy-related technologies to enable a transition to a competitive, low-carbon economy

  • Assessing the potential applications, prospects, and implications of Small Modular Reactors and other advanced reactor technologies in Canada.
  • Undertaking economic modelling of nuclear systems and their applications.
  • Developing fabrication, testing, and testing methodologies for advanced fuels and fuel materials to support advanced reactor technologies.
  • Enabling Canada’s continued participation in Generation IV International Forum, including opportunities to participate in the Molten Salt and Very High Temperature Reactor Systems.
  • Developing materials, processes and models for safe energy storage and conversion, including nuclear and renewable energy in the form of hydrogen and its derivatives.
  • Developing and demonstrating enabling technologies that support clean energy production, electrification in transportation and industrial sectors, and energy storage systems.
  • Developing and demonstrating applications of nuclear science and technology to Canada’s natural resource sectors (e.g., pipelines, oil and gas processes).
  • Evaluating capabilities and characteristics of research reactors and related nuclear research infrastructure including technology that would be required to support the recycling, reprocessing, and development of fuels for advanced reactor deployment in Canada.

Validating and developing safety analysis methodologies for regulatory purposes

  • Supporting independent verification and benchmarking of codes/tools for regulatory purposes.
  • Supporting the quantification of safety margins.
  • Increasing understanding of accident phenomena including the behavior of advanced fuels in transient and accident conditions and management of hydrogen burn risks and other combustible gases, during in-vessel and ex-vessel stages.
  • Confirming the feasibility of corium in-vessel retention strategy.
  • Confirming the containment performance capabilities as well as failure mechanisms and limits.
  • Developing and validating state-of-the-art modeling capabilities for safety analysis and accidents of Small Modular Reactors and other advanced reactor technologies.

Developing of Canadian resources (i.e. uranium and thorium)

  • Advancing fuel supply opportunities for Small Modular Reactors for Canada.
  • Looking at opportunities related to uranium and thorium-based materials and fuel – emerging areas of interest and risk.