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AtkinsRéalis introduces 1,000 MW CANDU® MONARK™ Reactor; Nuclear Power for a Net Zero, Energy Independent Future

A CANDU Reactor at Qinshan in China.

AtkinsRéalis [SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.] (TSX: ATRL), a fully integrated professional services and project management company with offices around the world, today introduced the latest reactor design—the CANDU® MONARK™ reactor—at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. The most advanced reactor design available from AtkinsRéalis, with the highest output of any CANDU technology at 1,000 MW, the CANDU MONARK is currently in the definition phase. It leverages CANDU technology’s tested and reliable design features together with the most modern and advanced engineering solutions; a Canadian solution for utilities faced with meeting the dual demands of Net Zero and energy security.

“Our Nuclear business in Canada, initially with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited Ltd. (AECL), has been at the forefront of innovation for over 70 years and introducing the development of the latest reactor design continues this distinguished legacy,” commented Ian L. Edwards, President and Chief Executive Officer, AtkinsRéalis. “We are the current original equipment manufacturer and steward of CANDU technology; these modern large-scale reactors will play a critical role in producing the quantum of additional electricity supply that’s required to power the energy transition, providing energy security and reliable, clean power for millions of people.”

Increasing Demand for Clean Power

With increasing electrification of society at large, including industrial processes, cars, building heating, and infrastructure, forecasts of global electricity needs indicate that global power consumption is expected to increase significantly. The Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO’s) “Pathways to Decarbonization” report indicated that the province will need to build another 18 gigawatts of nuclear power by 20501. The reactor life extension work that AtkinsRéalis is undertaking at Darlington and Bruce Power will be instrumental in ensuring that the 10 CANDU reactors at those sites continue to support the province’s increasing clean power needs while maintaining one of the lowest carbon footprints for power generation in Canada.

Large-scale nuclear reactors are increasingly sought-after by utilities and governments around the world as they look to decarbonize power grids, produce stable baseload power that is not weather-dependent and increase energy security. In September, the Canadian government agreed to provide export financing to support two additional CANDU reactors in Romania. These additional CANDU reactors at the Cernavoda site would take nuclear power’s share of Romania’s electricity production to 36%, increasing its energy independence while continuing to drive reductions in CO₂ emissions in the country since the last CANDU unit came online in 2007.

CANDU technology is proven, low-cost and has a decades-long global track record of on time and on budget performance. The heavy water reactor technology also has some of the highest capacity factors, composed of reliability and “up-time”, of all reactors in the world, including in Ontario and at Cernavoda in Romania.

“Canadian nuclear technologies are known around the world as being one of the best,” said Mary Ng, Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development for Canada. “In fact, CANDU reactors are synonymous with Canada. The new CANDU MONARK reactor design will ensure CANDU technology remains front and centre amid growing interest in nuclear energy around the world as part of the clean energy transition. Congratulations to AtkinsRéalis!”

“The CANDU MONARK reactor is the evolution of a proven Canadian technology that has not only been sought around the world, but for which our clients approach us to refurbish so they can operate it even longer,” said Joe St. Julian, President, Nuclear, AtkinsRéalis. “They recognize the strength of CANDU technology as a heavy water reactor, and how it stacks up against other products on the market. It’s that enthusiasm from existing and prospective clients, underpinned by global demand for power solutions that provide for both Net Zero and energy security, that spurs innovation like the enhanced reactor designs introduced today.”

About AtkinsRéalis

Created by the integration of long-standing organizations dating back to 1911, AtkinsRéalis is a world-leading professional services and project management company dedicated to engineering a better future for our planet and its people. We create sustainable solutions that connect people, data and technology to transform the world’s infrastructure and energy systems. We deploy global capabilities locally to our clients and deliver unique end-to-end services across the whole life cycle of an asset including consulting, advisory & environmental services, intelligent networks & cybersecurity, design & engineering, procurement, project & construction management, operations & maintenance, decommissioning and capital. The breadth and depth of our capabilities are delivered to clients in key strategic sectors such as Engineering Services, Nuclear, Operations & Maintenance and Capital. News and information are available at www.atkinsrealis.com or follow us on LinkedIn.

About AtkinsRéalis’ Nuclear Business

AtkinsRéalis has over 70 years’ of global nuclear expertise, delivering nuclear technology products and full-service solutions to nuclear utilities around the world. AtkinsRéalis is the steward of CANDU® nuclear technology, operating on four continents, and provides advisory and engineering services to other nuclear developers. With an innovative technology portfolio, including access to over 500 patented solutions, AtkinsRéalis solves technically complex challenges across the whole nuclear lifecycle from design and new build through asset management and from life extension and late life management through decommissioning and waste management. AtkinsRéalis operates and manages government nuclear research sites, transforming ageing infrastructure and safely managing legacy nuclear waste. AtkinsRéalis is also involved in developing medical radioisotopes for cancer research through its partnership with TerraPower. Learn more on our Nuclear market page.



About the CANDU MONARK: Partner for a Cost-Efficient, Energy Secure, and Net Zero Future

  • Cost-Effective at Scale to Displace High Emissions Energy Sources: Building on the commercial success of the CANDU models currently in operation, and decades of design development since, the CANDU MONARK reactor offers an economically attractive, domestic full-scale product to utilities looking to deploy new nuclear power at scale. Featuring a larger output of 1,000 MW, improved cost per megawatt-hour, a longer operating life of 70 years, sustainable design principles to minimize environmental impact, the latest in robotics, predictive maintenance and high integration with flexible electricity grids of the future; CANDU MONARK technology is designed to leverage the latest engineering techniques, including full interoperability with digital twin technology to reduce costs for construction, operation, and maintenance. It is the easiest reactor design to build, operate and maintain in AtkinsRéalis’ CANDU nuclear portfolio.
  • Simplified Construction: The CANDU MONARK’s composition has been designed with maintenance in mind, while incorporating a module-based construction strategy that reduces the time to construct from previous generations of CANDU technology. When combined with the enhanced control afforded by digital delivery concepts, the CANDU MONARK will be constructed faster and with lower risk.
  • Energy Security: The CANDU MONARK reactor leverages the existing strengths of the proven CANDU design, operating around the world with some of the highest fuel efficiencies and lifetime capacity factors among any reactor technology in the world. This includes using natural uranium as a fuel source (which can be produced domestically in the reactor’s host country), on-power refuelling, and online maintenance. Like other CANDU reactors, the fuel flexibility of CANDU MONARK technology also allows it to safely use other fuel sources with minimal adjustments; including recycled uranium, thorium and mixed oxide fuels. Existing CANDU units have already leveraged this capability, proving a natural uranium equivalent to be successful.
  • Net Zero Integration: Producing decarbonized power without emissions, a pair of CANDU MONARK reactors would remove over 17 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions per year when displacing traditional coal. With its footprint and flexible siting requirements, CANDU MONARK reactors can also be situated on existing fossil fuel power plant sites, where transmission and distribution lines already exist, for easy integration into an energy grid.
  • Cancer-Fighting Isotopes: The CANDU MONARK reactor will continue the ability of CANDU technology to produce medical grade life-saving isotopes to sterilize medical equipment worldwide, and for use in both fighting and researching cancer. Ontario’s CANDU reactors produce 50% of the world’s supply of the Cobalt-60 isotope.
  • Hydrogen Production: Deployment of nuclear power will form just one aspect of a future diversified energy grid. As part of its future-thinking design, the CANDU MONARK reactor can integrate a hydrogen production plant and storage facility into a nuclear station it resides in, as well as use surplus heat from the plant to make hydrogen generation more efficient.
  • Domestic Technology for Economic Growth: The supply chain for existing CANDU technology consists of over 250 companies and 76,000 employees. With this supply chain already growing, investments in building, operating, and maintaining CANDU MONARK reactors in Canada, as well as key export opportunities for them internationally, will not only sustain but increase job opportunities for well-paying, strategic roles in the Canadian economy. This includes engineers, scientists, manufacturers and constructors across Canada for generations to come.
  • World Class Safety StandardsLike all CANDU reactors in operation, which have been upgraded to deploy the latest innovations in safety technology, CANDU MONARK reactors have comprehensive “defence in depth” systems to de-risk even the most unlikely scenarios. It contains two independent, equally effective systems that can shut down the reactor. Both systems work without power, and without the need for operator intervention.

In addition to the new features, CANDU MONARK retains many features of CANDU technology that are unique among large reactor designs globally. These include:

  • The ability to use natural uranium as fuel, providing a vast majority of countries with unparalleled energy security.
  • The capability to produce life-saving medical isotopes to diagnose and treat health conditions.
  • The capacity to be refuelled during operations, allowing it to achieve higher capacity factors than other reactors.
  • Safety technology to de-risk even the most unlikely scenarios. This includes upgrades that make it more operationally resilient to extreme climate events.

Source: AtkinsRéalis