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$9.4 million awarded to support research on small modular reactors

General news Professors

June 16, 2023

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) are pleased to announce funding of $9.4 million over three years, to support 29 research projects through the first phase of the NSERC-CNSC Small Modular Reactors Research Grant Initiative.

The funding provided through this initiative will enhance research and knowledge, supporting the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) in a safe and secure manner and strengthening the science needed for regulatory decisions. SMRs offer a promising pathway to support Canada’s low carbon energy transition and are expected to be less complex, easier to operate and more cost effective than current nuclear technology.

The recipient projects will address research challenges and knowledge gaps ranging from the protection of the environment around SMRs, the management of risks and cybersecurity solutions when deploying SMRs in remote locations, the understanding of nuclear product material produced by SMRs and the implication of human factors when working with SMRs.

Learn more about the funded projects.


“NSERC is proud to have joined efforts with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to support research projects that will advance our knowledge of small modular reactors. These findings will help guide Canada’s regulatory decisions and contribute to advancements in the development of this promising clean energy technology for years to come.”

Prof. Alejandro Adem, FRSC, President, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

“The international community is watching Canada as we embark on the regulation of SMRs. This CNSC-NSERC funding initiative will help researchers study key areas, such as environmental protection, risk management, and cybersecurity in the context of SMRs. Through collaborative efforts such as this, we are laying the vital groundwork for a safer, cleaner, and more sustainable energy future.”

Rumina Velshi, President, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

More information

  • As part of the 2022 Federal Budget, the CNSC was awarded $15 million to partner with NSERC to fund research which will support the effective regulation and regulatory oversight of SMRs. The first phase, announced above, provides grants to a project up to $120,00 per year, for up to three years. The second phase, will include a second funding call in Fiscal Year 2024-2025 to either extend existing projects and/or fund new projects for a two-year duration.
  • NSERC and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) have partnered to fund research on small modular reactors in support of the objectives of Canada’s SMR Action Plan. This funding will be delivered through NSERC’s Alliance grants program.

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