Market Intelligence
Civil Nuclear Power Canada

Canada Nuclear Power Expansion

Canada has announced a further expansion of its nuclear power generation capacity with recent announcements for new reactor builds as well as existing reactor refurbishments as part of the country’s ongoing zero 2050 zero-emission target.  Both the new builds and the refurbishments afford significant business opportunities for U.S. technology developers and specialized nuclear-energy related companies.

Canada’s existing fleet of 19 large nuclear reactors currently provides 15.3% of the country’s electricity generation.  While multiple reactors are undergoing, or will soon begin refurbishment, combined with the forecast increase in electricity demand as part of Canada’s target to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, is driving Canada’s growth in this sector.

In this regard, On January 29, 2024, the Ontario provincial government announced its plan to refurbish Ontario Electric Power’s (OPG) Pickering Nuclear Power Station and extend its life for another 30-years for units 5-8 of the power plant.  The Ontario Government has allocated CAD 1.5 billion for the initial phase of the refurbishment project.  Additional refurbishment program’s are already underway at OPG nuclear power plants in Darlington, and those operated by Bruce Power.  

In another announcement, dated July 6, 2023, the Ontario Government announced its support for Ontario-based Bruce Power’s plans to add an additional 4.8 GW of nuclear power capacity.  As such, the Request for Information (RFI) process was launched in January 2024 to evaluate potential new nuclear technologies.

Of particular note is Canada’s first-in-the-world efforts to build small modular reactors (SMRs) at scale.  Detailed in Canada’s SMR Roadmap Strategy, four SMRs will be constructed at OPG’s Darlington site with the new reactors expected to gradually begin commercial operation from 2028.  At completion, the four SMRs will be used for base load-power generation planned will full operation expected by the mid-2030s.  Two advanced technology (Generation 4) SMRs are under regulatory approvals and construction preparations for test and demo purposes and later implementation for on and off grid operation, and similarly one Micro Modular Reactor for test and demo and later deployment to replace Diesel generation in remote locations.

Outside of the planned SMR builds in Ontario, Canada’s federal government is also actively supporting nuclear power development across the country. The Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Industry highlighted SMRs as a key component in their ongoing de-carbonization efforts and zero-emission targets.  In this respect, the provincial governments of Ontario, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Alberta have all signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for the development of their own SMR projects in the coming years.

In the short term, the Canadian Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Industry estimates that Canada’s SMR builds will generate at least CAD 2 billion business per year by 2040. In the longer term, the market potential for Canada’s ambitious SMR development in at least 15 more remote areas of the country, has the potential to reach more than CAD 150 billion in business opportunities by 2050.  Business opportunities will range from large and small reactor units to a variety of systems and components. Technology developers are expected to source approximately 60 percent of the reactors’ parts and components from specialized approved sub-suppliers. The balance for each build will include opportunities related to electricity generation and transportation, thermal energy use, and/or energy storage equipment, systems, and components.

The U.S. Commercial Service Canada closely following the status and progress Canada’s robust nuclear power development efforts and is assisting U.S. companies with advocacy support and business-to-business contact facilitation for the Canadian SMR program supply chain and related opportunities.

For more information contact Stefan Popescu, Senior International Trade Specialist at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto: