Canada, UK extend nuclear energy cooperation

The MOU between Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and the UK’s Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was signed by the high commissioner for Canada to the UK, Gordon Campbell, and Lee McDonough, director of DECC’s office for nuclear development.

The memorandum follows through on the commitment for increased nuclear energy cooperation that was highlighted in the updated 2014 prime ministerial Canada-UK joint declaration. It encourages and facilitates closer relationships between government agencies, regulatory authorities, academic and financial institutions.

Specifically, the MOU calls for increased cooperation throughout the nuclear fuel cycle, including: uranium supply; reactor design, construction, operation and decommissioning; adaptation of designs to use alternative and advanced fuel cycles that support the safe and proper disposition of legacy material; development of workforce skills through partnerships between academic institutions, suppliers and operators; and, joint research and development prioritization.

In a statement, NRCan said, “The MOU will provide benefits to a wide array of stakeholders in the nuclear energy industry in both Canada and the UK, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, by facilitating stronger industry-to-industry connections and encouraging collaborative work between laboratories and university research networks.”

It added, “The MOU will reinforce work already under way on feasibility studies related to the disposal of UK plutonium, and it will provide a framework to assess the development of power generation based on alternative nuclear fuels.”

The signing of the MOU was welcomed by SNC-Lavalin subsidiary Candu Energy, whose proposal for its CANMOX technology to be employed to reuse the UK’s civil plutonium and recovered uranium stockpiles was being presented today to the UK’s nuclear supply chain at a meeting organized by the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Suppliers in London.

In a statement, Candu Energy said that the signing of the MOU “establishes the means and processes by which such a project could be adopted.”

“This MOU galvanizes joint R&D, regulatory cooperation, technology transfer and investment into the UK nuclear sector and has the potential to unlock a powerful energy source for UK electricity consumers,” said Candu Energy president and CEO Preston Swafford.

Candu’s proposal centres on the deployment in the UK of its Enhanced Candu 6 (EC6) reactor and associated facilities. Joint Canadian and Chinese research has already demonstrated the ability of the heavy-water moderated and cooled reactor to use alternate fuels and for the recycling of MOX. The EC6 reactor is an evolution of the Candu 6 reactor. –

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