Sustainable Energy Solutions
Develop economic assessments in support of SMR
Evaluate the range of energy options for remote communities & mines
Analyses of radioactive airborne emissions
MIRARCO’s Energy Centre provides research and analysis to help the mining industry adopt sustainable, carbon-free energy solutions. Current research is focused on the potential adoption of small nuclear reactors (SMRs) for off-grid mines. MIRARCO is also developing methods for trace radiochemical analysis to support environmental assessments and licensing, and for decommissioning or post-removal verifications.
The value proposition of the Centre is to provide expert knowledge for economic case studies, problem-solving and fundamental research. The Centre develops its knowledge through past cases and through our relationships with academia and other partners. Our main academic partner is Laurentian University, Canada’s Mining University.
The Energy Centre is concentrating in these areas:
- Developing methods for tracing radiochemical analysis to support environmental assessments and licensing;
- Working with stakeholders to develop economic assessments in support of SMR;
- Understanding the energy needs of communities and the mining sector;
- Evaluating the range of energy options for remote communities and mines – from SMRs to alternative low carbon energy and storage technologies;
- Developing and delivering a clear science-communications strategy;
- Working with stakeholders to select appropriate energy technologies based on economics, environmental impacts, and regulatory constraints;
- Helping stakeholders develop and operate energy solutions sustainably.
Vision & Priorities
To be the go-to Centre for SMRs in mining by supporting business cases, promoting public and environmental acceptance, education and academic research.
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in Mines
MIRARCO is conducting research to determine the potential applications and economic feasibility of SMRs in the mining sector. SMRs can provide a competitive reliable baseload power with a low carbon footprint. MIRARCO is also developing methods for trace radiochemical analysis which is required for environmental assessments, licensing, and after reactor removal.
In 2021, MIRARCO in cooperation with the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), completed a report that concluded that very small modular reactors (vSMRs) could provide clean and reliable energy to remote northern mines and surrounding communities, while also cutting costs and reducing reliance on diesel.
The presentation was part of a pre-PDAC event, the “Small Modular Reactors and the Path to Net Zero Mining” webinar organized by the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) on March 5th, 2021. This presentation, in the style of a panel discussion, gave an overview of the cost competitiveness of SMRs at a mine site. This conceptual study was completed by CNL, OPG and MIRARCO. It was also presented at the “Mining & Micro-Reactors: A New Off-Grid Horizon” webinar by Reuters on March 31st, 2021.