The Drift: Could the mining industry consider the nuclear option to power remote mines? – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 23, 2021)

Laurentian University research institute studies how small-scale reactors could replace diesel generation in the Far North

Is there a viable marriage between mining and nuclear power? Laurentian University researcher François Caron aims to find out. There are 10 off-grid operating mines in remote areas of Canada, most of them reliant on diesel generation.

That’ll be a no-go in the years to come as the mining industry faces mounting pressure from society, government climate change legislation, even environmentally conscious investors, to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions and carbon footprint.

To be able to power potential mining camps in greenfield areas where grid power doesn’t reach, the nuclear energy option is being increasingly examined.

Helping to put the pieces together is Caron, the director of the Energy Centre at MIRARCO (Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation, and Applied Research Corporation), a research arm at the Sudbury university.

Caron was the lead author on a new study examining the feasibility of using very small nuclear reactors (vSMRs) to power a mining operation at a remote, off-grid, site.

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