SMRs increase the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation

Speaker: Ms. May

Time: 02/05/2022 15:10:56

Context: Question

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker, my question is: How is the government ensuring that with new publicly-funded plutonium technologies and so-called SMR reactors that we are not increasing the risk of nuclear proliferation of weapons undermining global treaties?

The experimental Moltex Salt Reactor in New Brunswick is being built by a company that has never done it before; of course, because no one has. However, British Company Moltex has admitted through its CEO that there is a risk. He goes on to to say that we will “ensure we’ve got the risk of weapons proliferation managed and sufficiently low.”

What on earth is “sufficiently low” in an era where Putin is sabre-rattling nuclear weapons?

Hon. Jonathan Wilkinson (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, small, modular reactors are under development in several countries around the world and not simply Canada. We can look to the United States and to the United Kingdom.

As the hon. member knows, nuclear energy plays an important role in Canada’s current energy mix. In the recent budget, we provided resources for the independent Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to focus on readiness to regulate SMRs. Going forward, Canada is committed to ensuring its nuclear industry continues to comply with all existing international obligations.