Political Support for Nuclear in Canada
Nuclear has historically been the backbone of the clean energy sector but rarely acknowledged on the political front. However, over the past few months we have seen increased public political support for nuclear.
In December 2019 the premiers from Ontario, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance the development and deployment of SMRs to address climate change, regional energy demand and economic development. This MOU was discussed at the CNA2020 conference to give more updates and specifics on the path forward.
At the CNA conference in February 2020 the Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan further endorsed nuclear stating that “I have not seen a credible plan for net zero without nuclear as part of the mix”.
On a provincial level the Ontario Durham Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Lindsey Park brought forward Motion 91 to get nuclear and SMRs recognized as clean. This Motion was brought to the house and debated on March 5th and passed the vote. A press statement was held before the vote with a speech from MPP Park, Women in Nuclear Canada president Lisa McBride and our NAYGN Canadian Operating Officer Matthew Mairinger.
Canada and UK nuclear ties were strengthened in March with an SMR collaboration including an MOU between Canadian Nuclear Labs (CNL) and the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory, an MOU between the Canadian Nuclear Association(CNA) and the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), and a declaration from the civil society (including support from NAYGN added after the initial signing). You can read more HERE.
Canadian Nuclear Association Conference 2020
Every year the Canadian Nuclear Association hosts its big annual conference and 2020 was a special year as they were celebrating their 60th anniversary! The conference had workshops on topics such as: starting your career (for students), public information, and regulatory affairs. The opening day had a supplier forum, a technology showcase and an SMR seminar. The plenary sessions included: remarks from the Honourable Seamus O’Regan (Minister of Natural Resources Canada), Regulating and Industry Oversight for the Future, Provincial Perspectives on SMRs, Panel: Getting to Net Zero, a Political Podcast, SMRs as disruptive technology, Nuclear in Science and Medicine and closing remarks from the Honourable Greg Rickford (Ontario Minister of Energy).
For NAYGN: Matthew Mairinger (NAYGN Canadian Operating Officer) attended the CNA board meeting, we had a strong booth representation as shown below from NAYGN members and Matthew also moderated the “Starting your Career” session.
Canadian Federal Election
In October 2019 Canadians headed to the election booths and re-elected Justin Trudeau (Liberal) as the Prime Minister of Canada. The Liberals lost their majority government but won the election with a minority government. The Liberals took 33.1% of the popular vote and 46.4% of the electoral districts, the Conservatives (Official Opposition party) took 34.4% of the popular vote and 35.8% of the electoral districts, the Bloc Québécois took 7.7% of the popular vote and 9.5% of the electoral districts, the New Democratic Party (NDP) took 15.9% of the popular vote and 7.1% of the electoral districts, the Green party took 6.5% of the popular vote and 0.9% of the electoral districts, and Independent took 0.4% of the popular vote and 0.3% of the electoral districts. Voter turnout was 65.95% of registered electors. Full details can be seen HERE.
In the NAYGN Strategic Plan for 2020 Q1.6 had an action to send letters to newly elected Canadian Members of Parliaments (MP) introducing them to nuclear facts and the NAYGN organization. In March 2020 Matthew Mairinger sent out letters to all Canadian MPs to complete this action. Did you know sending letters to your Canadian MP doesn’t require a stamp? If you are looking for a template letter to send to your political leaders there are example letters HERE.
New Canadian Regional Lead
A warm welcome to the new Canadian Regional Lead Owen Marshall-Glew. He is planning to host a Canadian regional conference in Q3/4 2020 and is looking for help to organize this conference. If you are interested please reach out to the email listed above.
Owen got his start in the nuclear industry after working for B.C. Hydro’s research division on electric vehicles, renewable power, and grid modernization.
In 2016 he transitioned to the NRU reactor at Chalk River, where he worked as a components and maintenance specialist for two years. There he learned from industry pioneers and veterans and developed a deep appreciation for the lesser known facets of nuclear energy (nuclear medicine, isotope production, and material research to name a few). He also moonlighted on a small team of scientists and engineers dedicated to vetting siting one or more SMRs at Chalk River–work which continues there to this day.
Following the shutdown of NRU, Owen transitioned once again: this time to his current role on the Darlington refurbishment project as a series lead.
Newest Canadian NAYGN Chapter – University of New Brunswick
Another warm welcome to John Flood and Jessica A. Gauthier who have started the University of New Brunswick (UNB) NAYGN chapter. This is the most Easterly chapter that NAYGN has, so our influence is spreading!. The closest chapter is Nextera Energy –Seabrook, in the Northeast region and the Chalk River chapter, in the Canada region.