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Title: A Study of the Potential Application of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) for Electricity Generation in the Northwest Territories
Authors: Hojjati, Niloofar
Issue Date: Sep-2013
Citation: Hojjati, Niloofar. (2013). A Study of the Potential Application of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) for Electricity Generation in the Northwest Territories ( Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
Abstract: Canada’s Northern territories face numerous challenges in the development and generation of energy. The harsh Northern climate, geographically dispersed population, and lack of electrical grids have contributed to a unique pattern of energy use in the North which is notably different than the rest of Canada. This unique environment has resulted in electricity costs that are approximately ten times higher than that of the Canadian average. The North is highly dependent on imported oil for the majority of its electricity generation. This in turn has led to a staggering level of greenhouse gas emissions or GHG which has had a serious impact on the Northern climate, with Northern temperatures becoming warmer at a rate five times that of the global average. The staggering level of GHG emissions, the high cost of electricity as well as the accelerating warming trends in the Northern climate serve as evidence for a dire need of change in policy. A key to the long term development of reliable and sustainable supply of energy in the North is the re-evaluation of old and less efficient current methods of power generation, while investigating the advantages of newer and more efficient technologies. This leads to the consideration of the public policy question of alternative methods of electricity generation such as the utilization of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). The characteristics of the modular design of SMRs demonstrate the feasibility of utilization of SMRs to meet electricity needs in the North given the hindering geography and climate of the region. The modular concept of SMRs allow for greater simplicity in design, shorter construction periods, and a smaller plant footprint while emitting zero GHG emissions. The modular design of SMRs also incorporates operational flexibility which permits local grids to be built in a capacity which matches local electricity demand. While, there are significant benefits to the utilization of SMRs for electricity generation, potential challenges must also be recognized. These challenges include public fear of nuclear energy, licensability of SMRs, and the lack of skilled human resources in the North, among others.
Appears in Collections:Master of Public Policy Capstone Projects

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