CNL proposes small nuclear reactor for CFB Petawawa

cfb petawawa
I, Padraic Ryan, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Ontario Construction news staff writer

Small modular reactors (SMR) could provide clean, economic and reliable energy to the 4 CDSB Petawawa, helping reduce reliance on fossil fuels and enabling energy security, according to a recent study completed by Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of National Defense (DND) and Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).

Specifically, the study examined the feasibility of providing energy, both electrical and thermal from a SMR located at Chalk River Laboratories to achieve several goals for 4 CDSB Petawawa, including reaching net-zero by 2050 in alignment with Canada’s Climate Plan and reducing the base’s reliance on and use of diesel fuel.

“Small modular reactors have the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and meeting net zero goals,”  Fred Dermarkar, president and CEO, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. said in a statement last Thursday (June 2). “They are also ideally suited to service small remote communities where today diesel is the only practical option, such as military bases.

“AECL is proud to have worked with the Department of National Defence to analyse deploying SMRs to meet their climate change objectives at their Base in Petawawa, Ontario, next to Canada’s national nuclear laboratory, Chalk River Laboratories. We look forward to continuing this collaboration with National Defence moving forward.”

“Smaller in footprint than conventional reactors, SMRs are increasingly being considered as a safe and reliable option to provide energy in remote or off-grid locations or when energy independence is needed, such as disaster relief or during extended power outages,” CNIL said in the statement.“Inherently more flexible in operations, SMRs could be used in a range of applications, including local area electricity production, heating, industrial steam, hydrogen production, or desalination of water.”

Established in 1905, 4 CDSB Petawawa is one of the Canadian Forces’ most active bases with more than 400 buildings supporting more than 7,000 personnel. While presently the majority of the base’s electricity is supplied by the provincial electrical grid, diesel generators provide additional peaking capacity and redundancy.

Three natural gas boilers provide the bulk of the heating through a steam distribution system and low-temperature hot water system. Significant growth is expected at the base in coming years, with projected energy demand increasing 59% for electricity and 9% for thermal energy, assuming additional electrification in facilities.

CNL says the base’s present energy demand and supply were reviewed in order to establish the current baseline for comparison and to determine appropriate potential requirements for the future.          “Using CNL’s Hybrid Energy System Optimization (HESO) model, a variety of scenarios were modelled to identify the optimal energy mix for the base. The HESO model helps to determine the best energy mix to minimize cost while meeting both greenhouse gas reduction targets and peak energy demands,” CNL asserts.

“The results of the study indicate that this project could potentially generate enough clean energy to power roughly 90-100% of the garrison’s off-hour energy demand, and between 45-55% during peak hours. This would reduce the garrison’s GHG emissions by 18-50% overall, supporting DND in meeting net-zero by 2050. In this scenario, two SMR units could demonstrate the provision of thermal energy to meet local area heating needs, while the electrical energy needs for the Base could be met through a combination of solar with battery storage. This scenario was also among the most cost competitive.”


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