Does the SSR-W generate clean electricity?
The SSR-W, like all nuclear reactors, generates clean, carbon-free energy. On a lifecycle basis, including manufacturing, construction, transportation and decommissioning, the SSR-W produces about 16g CO2eq/kWh – just slightly more than wind (12g CO2eq/kWh), and about one-third as much as solar PV (48g CO2eq/kWh). Gas emits 469g CO2/kWh and coal is responsible for 1,001g CO2eq/kWh.
Is the SSR-W safe?
Nuclear energy is one of the safest sources of energy available. It is responsible for fewer deaths per kWh than any other source, including renewables. The way the SSR-W achieves this level of safety is different than conventional reactors. The SSR-W ensures control of reactivity, heat removal and containment through passive safety systems and materials. That is, no human intervention is needed to shut down the reactor in the event of a problem and no problem can have an effect beyond the site boundary.
Is the SSR-W affordable to build and operate?
The SSR-W is one of the most affordable nuclear reactors being developed because it relies on passive (as opposed to engineered) safety systems. Once the initial design and R&D is complete, it will cost the same amount to build as a combined cycle gas plant. The cost of electricity from the SSR-W will be lower than the average cost of electricity in New Brunswick.
Will the SSR-W create more waste?
Quite the opposite. The SSR-W will actually reduce the amount of waste in existence by recycling spent nuclear fuel and using it to power the reactor. In fact, the 300 MW SSR-W being first demonstrated in New Brunswick can run its whole life by recycling the stockpile of spent fuel which is stored at Point Lepreau from NB Power’s CANDU operations.
Could recycling spent fuel lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons?
To produce weapons-grade material from SSR-W fuel would require an enormous,multi-billion dollar reprocessing facility, which does not exist in Canada. But even if it did, the nuclear industry is heavily regulated which ensures the country does not manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons, and that nuclear exports do not contribute to the development of nuclear weapons.
Will the SSR-W use a lot of land?
The SSR-W is extremely small compared to other reactors of the same power output. The entire plant – including the SSR-W, WATSS facility, GridReserve energy storage tanks, and other auxiliary buildings – will use less than 20 acres of land. To generate the same amount of power from wind would require 25,000 acres.
How can the SSR-W and renewables work together?
Renewables are an important part of the energy mix in many regions, but they cannot support the world’s energy needs by themselves. Solar and wind produce power an average of 30% to 40% of the time, and therefore require a backup power source for the other 60% to 70%. This has traditionally been gas, a fossil fuel. The SSR-W offers an emissions-free alternative.
Does New Brunswick really need more power?
While conservation, retrofits, and smart grid technology are all important in lowering energy consumption, these will not replace the need for large quantities of clean, reliable power. The province needs to build new capacity to ensure its energy needs are met when existing power plants reach the end of their operational lives. The Point Lepreau CANDU reactor, for example, will be retired around 2040.
Do New Brunswick residents support new nuclear?
An overwhelming 89% of New Brunswick residents believe it is important to recycle nuclear waste stored at the Point Lepreau site so it can be used to generate more clean electricity, according to a recent survey by Narrative Research. In general, those living in close proximity to operating nuclear reactors are the most supportive of new nuclear.