Premiers Blaine Higgs of New Brunswick (left), Scott Moe (centre) of Saskatchewan and Doug Ford of Ontario signed a "Collaboration Memorandum of Understanding" to develop small nuclear reactors on Sunday, ahead of a meeting of Canada's provincial leaders today. (Jeff McIntosh/CBC)

Three premiers announce nuclear reactor development deal

Three provincial premiers have announced an agreement to develop nuclear reactor technology as a means to reduce carbon production.

Saskatchewan’s Scott Moe, Ontario’s Doug Ford and New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs made the announcement yesterday in Toronto, as provincial and territorial leaders were gathering for their first collective meeting since the Oct. 21 federal election.

All three are opponents of the federally mandated carbon tax.

Their agreement applies to so-called small modular reactors, which the premiers say, generate clean, low cost energy.

Energy ministers from the three provinces will meet early next year to develop a strategy that is expected to be ready next fall.

Oakville, Ont.-based Terrestrial Energy is designing a small modular reactor that it hopes will be operational in 2029. (Terrestrial Energy)

It is estimated that it will take five to ten years to get the reactors on line.

The premiers say the SMRs are safer than large reactors, easier to construct, and small enough to fit in a school gym.

The federal government has called SMRs the “next wave of innovation” in nuclear energy technology.

There are currently about a dozen Canadian companies working on developing the reactors.

The Canadian Nuclear Commission is reviewing their designs.

While about 8.6 per cent of Canada’s overall electricity comes from coal-fired generation, the numbers are higher in New Brunswick, whose current usage is 15.8 per cent coal-generated, and in Saskatchewan, where 48.6 per cent of energy comes from coal.

Ontario has no coal-fired power plants.

With files from CBC, CP, Global

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