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OPG, Moltex Energy join forces in project aimed at studying clean energy solutions


March 30, 2021
By Ontario Power Generation

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Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability (CCNS) is collaborating with Moltex Energy to study clean energy solutions. The project is aimed at recycling used fuel from CANDU reactors.

OPG’s CCNS will provide $1 million in funding to assist Moltex in demonstrating the technical viability of a new process to recycle used CANDU fuel. When removed from an operating reactor, used CANDU fuel still contains energy. Moltex’ process would extract the remaining energy source and prepare it for use as new fuel in other advanced reactor designs, potentially reducing the volume of the material requiring long-term storage in a deep geological repository.

The project would contribute to the development of Moltex’ WAste To Stable Salt (WATSS) technology, which could lead to a more sustainable form of nuclear power.

“Our goal is to advance solutions for nuclear materials, with a continued emphasis on minimizing our environmental footprint,” Carla Carmichael, vice-president, Nuclear Decommissioning Strategy and lead for OPG’s Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability, said. “We know nuclear power has a key role to play as we work to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. We are committed to supporting innovation and responsible solutions aimed at developing the next generation of clean nuclear power.”

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“We are working to develop a technology that uses the fuel from the first generation of nuclear power in Canada to power the next,” Rory O’Sullivan, chief executive officer, North America, Moltex Energy, said. “This reduces the challenges associated with spent nuclear fuel, while expanding nuclear power to help Canada achieve its climate change objectives.”

OPG’s Centre for Canadian Nuclear Sustainability launched in 2020 with a focus on advancing nuclear innovation, collaboration and research to seek solutions for minimizing nuclear materials and recycle clean materials.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), through its Canadian Nuclear Research Initiative, is supporting the design, construction and optimization of the testing apparatus.

The University of New Brunswick is involved in the project in a research and testing capacity.

NB Power is committed to building the first WATSS facility in Saint John, N.B. The used fuel from the utility’s Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station would power a 300-MW stable salt reactor – Wasteburner (SSR-W), also under development by Moltex.

The project has also received significant federal funding support.