David H. Thompson, Project Officer
P.O. Box 4561
Rothesay, NB E2E 5X3

June 15, 2022

Standing Committee on Science and Research

Sixth Floor, 131 Queen Street
House of Commons\Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

Attention: Committee Clerk

Leap4wards, Saint John Region (New Brunswick) chapter, submits the following brief to the Study on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). Leap4wards is a local action group that works on social and environmental issues.

We believe that SMR development SHOULD NOT be supported by federal funds earmarked for climate action. In fact, if SMRs were a worthy investment, private investors would fully support them, and the proponents of these SMR projects would not be asking for government money (taxpayer funding).

Government investment in energy should ONLY be directed to renewable energy development and energy conservation and efficiency. We are in an emergency situation with climate change. Renewable energy projects of various kinds can be put in place quickly in all regions across Canada, whereas SMRs are only in the development stage.

The type of renewable energy projects for each location should be geared to the most available and economic sources of natural energy in that place. For instance, where we are, on the New Brunswick Bay of Fundy coast, wind power would probably be the best source for new electricity generation. Furthermore, information indicates that wind power sites strategically located would provide a more reliable supply of energy than the existing Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station, which is often out of service for months at a time, sometimes during peak electricity demand times during the winter months. During its refurbishment several years ago, Point Lepreau was out of commission for 3 ½ years. Furthermore, Point Lepreau Nuclear Station is mired in debt.

Wind power is likely to be the best power generating choice for many coastal regions as well many other regions of Canada.

Solar energy, in its many forms of collection, including active, passive, and photo voltaic, can be a valuable source of energy to many communities, providing both heat and electricity from a non-inflationary source.

Heat from geothermal sources, aquafers and also industrial sources (which currently dump their heat into the natural environment) should all be taken advantage of.

Recovery of biogas from farm waste and other biologically digestible waste materials should be encouraged by making resources available for the infrastructure to collect, distribute, and use this under-used resource.

Potential still exists for more hydro-generated electricity, including small-scale hydro at many environmentally acceptable locations across Canada. Also, many existing hydro stations need refurbishment, as they are operating with inefficient and antiquated equipment installed decades or, in some cases, a century ago. For instance, in our Fundy region of New Brunswick, a small hydro station built in the early 1900s to serve the needs of a small pulp mill and the community surrounding it, originally produced only about 1M.W. of electricity. With the installation of modern equipment about a dozen years ago, it now generates in excess of 15 M.W. of electricity.

We strongly recommend that NO taxpayer dollars be invested in SMRs which, like all nuclear generation, would create radioactive waste which would be dangerous for thousands of years.

SMRs would be financially wasteful, too, as they are still in the pre development stage and have already gobbled up millions of dollars, requiring billions more and perhaps many years more to get them into production – if they ever DO get them into production.

The time factor is another reason that federal money should not be invested into SMRs, which will not be built – if ever – before the end of this decade. We already have renewable energy sources (wind, solar, etc. . .) that are getting more efficient and more economical all the time.

We are confident that Net Zero Carbon Emissions can be accomplished more economically and much faster WITHOUT more nuclear and WITHOUT SMRs. Let’s put federal dollars into renewable energy, conservation, and efficiency, because they have already proven themselves to be reliable and economic. Furthermore, unlike non-renewable energy, the fuels to provide renewable energy (wind, sun, flowing water, etc.) have no cost and therefore are immune to future inflation.

New nuclear power plants, SMRs or fuel preparation facilities for SMRs must never be built in Canada without the most detailed and comprehensive federal environmental impact assessments, with FULL public participation. This is necessary due to the radioactive wastes produced and the danger of radiation escaping into the environment.

Thank you for considering our submission.
David H. Thompson
Project Officer, Leap4wards
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