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Cameco inks deals to supply fuel for small modular reactors

Cigar Lake uranium mine (Image: Cameco)

Cameco (TSX: CCO; NYSE: CCJ) has signed a memorandum of understanding with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), GEH SMR Technologies Canada, and Synthos Green Energy to evaluate the potential establishment of a uranium supply chain in Canada capable of service a potential fleet of GWRX-300 small modular reactors (SMR) in Poland.

The BWRX-300 is a 300-MW, water cooled natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems. It has the potential to be the lowest risk, most cost competitive and quickest to market SMR, Cameco said in a release.

Last week, Cameco signed an agreement last week with an engineering company to potentially supply fuel for SMRs in Canada and the United States. The firm, X-energy, specializing in nuclear reactor and fuel design, has developed what it calls the Xe-100 SMR.

Cameco is one of the world’s largest suppliers of uranium, and as such, is well placed to support SMRs. “We intend to be a fuel supplier of choice for the emerging SMR and advanced reactor market and look forward to working with X-energy to see what opportunities might exist around their innovative reactor technology,” said Cameco president and CEO Tim Gitzel. 

This summer, Cameco signed similar deals with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas.

SMRs are seen as a replacement for diesel at mines and communities in remote locations. Each installation would have a life of 20 or 30 years, providing clean, economic and reliable energy and  heat. A study was completed in 2018 for Ontario Power Generation, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and MIRARCO that may lay the foundation for future development.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)

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