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Nuclear Wrapped: top 5 developments for nuclear in 2023

2023 was a big year for nuclear in Ontario, across Canada, and around the world! We’ve compiled a list of the highlights that topped our list this year. And while there’s lots to celebrate, these events really stood out to us.

#5 - Advances in isotopes


2023 saw major advances in the medical isotopes space. Building on successes in 2022, in October, Bruce Power celebrated one year of production of lutetium-177 using its innovative Isotope Production System (IPS).

Alongside its partners, including the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, Bruce Power was able to produce this cancer-fighting isotope in much larger volumes and ship it around the world to be used for radiopharmaceutical treatments. Furthermore, in November, Bruce Power completed the delivery of the company’s largest ever harvest of cobalt-60an isotope used worldwide to sterilize medical equipment and fight cancer.  

Additionally, the isotopes sector saw boosts from the following key developments:  


  • Establishment of the Southwestern Ontario Isotope Coalition  

  • Government of Canada announces $35 million to support the development, production, advancement and distribution of medical isotopes.  

  • Private Members’ Motion moved by Rick Byers, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, calling on the Government of Ontario to include medical isotopes in the province’s Life Sciences Strategy receives all-party support in the Ontario Legislature.   


#4 - AtkinsRéalis launches new CANDU design


In November, AtkinsRéalis launched the CANDU®MONARK™ reactor at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris, France. The new CANDU design marks the highest output of any CANDU technology at 1,000 MW. According to AtkinsRéalis, the MONARK leverages CANDU’s tested and reliable design features together with the most modern and advanced engineering solutions.  


It is incredible to see an icon of the Canadian nuclear sector achieve such a significant milestone. With new nuclear developments being explored domestically and around the world, a new state-of-the-art, made-in-Canada technology option is an important development.  


Learn more about new CANDU here.  


#3 - Nuclear has its moment at COP28


At COP28, nuclear finally had its moment. There was overwhelming support for nuclear expressed by countries and companies alike from all over the world.

This culminated in the final text of the “Global Stocktake” including nuclear as one of the means to achieve: “deep, rapid and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions”.  


Earlier in the COP28 conference, more than 20 countries came together to launch the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy. The declaration sets out key actions that the signatories agree to undertake in a global effort to triple global nuclear capacity from 2020 levels by the year 2050.  


Check out our blog post for a complete review of COP28.   


#2 - Canada includes nuclear in Investment Tax Credit and Green Bond Framework eligibility


The beginning of 2023 saw a sector-wide push from Canada’s nuclear industry to have all types of nuclear investment listed under the eligibility for a proposed Investment Tax Credit for Clean Technology (proposed in Budget 2022 and outlined in greater detail in the 2022 Fall Economic Statement).

Budget 2023 brought good news to the sector when a new 15% refundable Investment Tax Credit for Clean Electricity was introduced. The credit applies to all sizes of nuclear projects including small modular reactors, new large-scale builds, and refurbishment projects.  


Later in the year, the Government of Canada released an update to its Green Bond Framework, which “broadens the scope of Canadian investments in climate action and environmental protection for investors to support, while fostering further development of the Canadian sustainable finance market.” The update includes a specific section that outlines the critical role of nuclear in Canada’s energy future and the part it will play in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.  


Both these developments represent significant developments for Canada’s nuclear sector and could mobilize important investments in nuclear projects in the years to comes.   


#1 - Powering Ontario’s Growth plan


Topping the list this year is the Government of Ontario’s Powering Ontario’s Growth plan. The level of ambition in the plan speaks for itself.

The plan sets out a series of actions required to build out the province’s electricity system in support of new investments (think new electric vehicle plants) and power 1.5 million new homes in support of a growing population all while attempting to eliminate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Ontario’s electricity sector by 2050.

Unsurprisingly, the plan leans on Ontario’s nuclear sector, including the following key actions:  


  • Potential new nuclear at Bruce Power – the province will work with Bruce Power to begin pre-development work to explore the possibility of new, large-scale nuclear (up to 4,800 MW) at the Bruce site.  


  • New nuclear at Darlington – the province will work with OPG to add three additional (one already in development) small modular reactors (SMRs) at the OPG Darlington site. This could add an additional 1,200 MW in capacity once all four SMRs become operational.  


  • Support for energy storage (including pumped storage), new transmission, energy efficiency and more.  


2023 has been a spectacular year for nuclear with 2024 promising to continue this momentum. We’ll be watching for continued action on each of the items listed above.   


Chad Richards is the Director of Policy and Partnerships.


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