Eliminate federal funding for Small Modular Reactors

The Green Budget Coalition recommends that federal funding for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) be eliminated in Budget 2023. We are concerned that despite massive public subsidies in nuclear power, SMRs remain an unproven, far more costly form of energy production than renewables, while posing risks of severe accidents and nuclear weapons proliferation.

There is little evidence that SMRs are the breakthrough technology that will resurrect Canada’s nuclear industry, which has been in a steady decline since 1996, nor feasibly enable Canada to meet its climate targets. No SMR in Canada has commenced licensing and pilot projects are years away from completion. This, coupled with the sector’s trend of construction delays and cost overruns, make SMR projects ineligible to contributing to meeting the most urgent of climate targets set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

There is strong opposition to SMRs from civil society groups and some First Nations including Kebaowek First Nation who have expressed opposition to SMRs in Algonquin territory, which is home to the only SMR currently undergoing federal review. To date, there has been no public accounting of the lifetime costs and risks accompanying SMRs’ construction, operation, maintenance, decommissioning and eventual waste oversight. Without this transparent demonstration, SMR projects should not be eligible for any net-zero tax credit or net-zero initiative funding. In addition to direct subsidies, SMR proponents seek reduced requirements for environmental assessment, emergency planning, nuclear security, accident liability, and decommissioning, thereby reducing opportunities for public participation in decision-making.


Eliminate federal funding for SMRs, across all departments and funding streams, and reallocate funds for SMRs into cost-effective, socially responsible, renewable energy solutions that are scalable now. [NRCan]

See also Advancing a zero-emissions electricity grid based on renewables, earlier in this document.