Can floating nuclear power plants help solve Northern Canada’s energy woes? – by Matthew McClearn (Globe and Mail – May 3, 2024)

Diesel is the only way to keep the lights on in many remote Arctic towns. A new project wants to offer a greener option – but first it has to assuage safety and cost concerns and compete with other renewables

The nuclear industry is seeking to establish a beachhead in Canada’s North – literally – with a proposed floating nuclear power plant to serve remote Indigenous communities.

Westinghouse, a U.S.-based reactor vendor, has partnered with Prodigy Clean Energy, a Montreal-based company, to develop a transportable nuclear power plant. Essentially a barge housing one or more of Westinghouse’s eVinci microreactors, it would be built in a shipyard and moved thousands of kilometres by a heavy-lift carrier to its destination in the Far North. There it could be moored within a protected harbour, or installed on land near the shore.

Prodigy, which spent the past eight years developing the barge, markets it as a solution for delivering small modular reactors (SMRs) for coastal applications. To serve markets with larger energy appetites, Prodigy has partnered with another American vendor, NuScale, whose reactor produces far more electricity than the eVinci.

While both the eVinci and barge are still works in progress, the partners vow to have their first transportable nuclear plant operating by the end of this decade. “We are talking here about really starting a new industry,” said chief executive Mathias Trojer.

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