The Belledune Port Authority (BPA) announced today that it is working with Cross River Infrastructure Partners to pursue the use of advanced small modular reactor (aSMR) technology as part of a future expansion at the northern New Brunswick port.
The development proposes to use aSMR from ARC Clean Technology Canada (ARC) to generate a minimum of 1GW of zero-emission firm heat and power for industrial users at the port’s recently announced Green Energy Hub.
Pending feasibility studies, environmental approvals and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission licensing, the project could reach commercial operation between 2030 and 2035.
Project developer Cross River and ARC have committed to early engagement with stakeholders, local communities, and First Nations prior to and during the formal regulatory approvals process. Information sessions will be scheduled in the coming weeks and months to ensure meaningful and transparent dialogue.
“We look forward to exploring the use of aSMR technology as part of our portfolio of clean energy projects at the Green Energy Hub, along with new wind energy developments, solar and biomass, as well as leading edge energy storage solutions,” said Belledune Port Authority President and CEO Denis Caron. “We anticipate significant First Nations and community interest in this project and will ensure the proponents provide informative and timely engagement opportunities for northern New Brunswickers. Maintaining and sustaining these relationships is critical to our collective success.”
The Green Energy Hub is a special development district on Port lands intended for clean energy projects, along with complementary, low-carbon industries to support northern economic growth. It is a key piece of the Port’s recently announced 2022-2052 Master Development Plan.
In August, the BPA announced an agreement with Cross River to develop a hydrogen facility powered by green-certified energy that would produce ammonia fuel for export. Planned expansions would create additional capacity to serve local, domestic, and international markets. The facility would be located at the Port’s Green Energy Hub.
The aSMR project would see the development of an ARC-100 unit to serve as an energy source for expanded hydrogen production and other industries based at the Port, which may include metal fabrication and advanced manufacturing.
“One of the key advantages of the ARC reactors is their ability to provide a tremendous amount of high temperature steam and power in a small space. As they are utilizing proven technology, we believe the ARC-100 is the best advanced nuclear reactor to provide as an energy solution for heavy industry,” said Andrew Wilder, CEO of Cross River Infrastructure Partners.
The proposed project is in traditional Mi’gmaq territory with Pabineau and Eel River Bar First Nations located adjacent to the Port. These communities are part of a broad relationship, consultation and engagement protocol agreement signed between the Port and New Brunswick’s eight Mi’gmaq communities in 2018.
In 2021, Pabineau First Nation signed an additional agreement between the Port of Belledune and ARC to identify and pursue mutually beneficial initiatives related to jobs and economic prosperity.
Both communities look forward to the project’s next steps.
“With the need for a baseline source of clean energy it makes sense to go to small modular reactor technology. The fact that it can be utilized as a power source is a win for Cross River and other proponents developing hydrogen. We look forward to equity in all these projects in our traditional Territory,” said Chief Terry Richardson of Pabineau First Nation.
“We welcome the opportunity to learn about advanced small modular reactor technology as a source of clean energy at the Port of Belledune, and our community looks forward to engagement and consultation related to the environmental and economic benefits this development can bring to our region,” said Chief Sacha Labillois of Eel River Bar First Nation.
New Brunswick Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development Mike Holland says the proposed Belledune project has the potential to enhance Canada’s leadership position in the development of aSMR solutions worldwide.
“New Brunswick is leading the development of Generation IV SMRs as part of the Pan Canadian Framework, and we are delighted to see ARC Clean Technology selected to be the first SMR in Canada to provide clean, non-emitting energy for an industrial application like the Green Energy Hub in Belledune,” said Holland. “The ARC-100 has broad applications for industrial decarbonization across Canada and abroad, as demonstrated by this selection.”
In 2018, ARC Clean Technology launched a demonstration project for the ARC 100 unit at NB Power’s Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station (PLNGS) as part of Canada’s SMR Roadmap. Pending regulatory approvals and licensing, the PLNGS unit will be commissioned by 2029. ARC’s proposed project in Belledune would provide added scale for New Brunswick and could serve as a model for ARC’s technology to be used as a direct energy source for industry.
“The ARC-100 unit uses an inherently safe and proven technology with relatively low cost of modular construction and operation,” said Bill Labbe, CEO of ARC Canada. “It is an obvious choice for industrial implementation, and the Belledune application will make New Brunswick a leader in the development and deployment of small modular reactors in Canada and abroad.”