WINGHAM, ONT. -- Two of Canada’s biggest nuclear companies, Bruce Power and Cameco, are creating the Centre for Next Generation Nuclear Technologies.

“This is really exciting stuff,” says Ontario Premier, Doug Ford, during a morning virtual news conference.

Even as Bruce Power embarks on a 13-year, $13 billion refurbishment of most of their nuclear fleet, that will secure the site produces power until 2064, the nuclear operator is looking beyond that.

Technologies like small modular reactors, hydrogen fuel technology, and the export of medical isotopes are three major nuclear technologies the new centre will investigate.

“I truly believe we are in the renaissance of nuclear power in Canada, and we are on the cusp of using nuclear technology to save lives, and produce emissions free electricity. And we aren’t going to be able to deal with things like climate change, if we aren’t going to commit to integrating nuclear power into our systems,” says Saskatchewan Premier, Scott Moe.

Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, and Alberta are all working towards the creation of small modular reactors. A cheaper, smaller and more scaleable nuclear version of the current multi-reactor sites, like Bruce Power.

“We’ll be able to look at technologies like small modular reactors, how nuclear can play a role in producing affordable hydrogen as we shift to a clean fuel based economy. We’ll look at how we can enter the medical isotope export market. We see Canada as playing a key role in the production of isotopes that can treat forms of cancer that previously weren’t available,” says Bruce Power CEO, Mike Rencheck.

Of course, more nuclear, means more nuclear waste, which is meeting with vocal opposition in parts of Ontario. Still, Premier’s Ford and Moe, feel nuclear power, in whatever form, is here to stay.

“It has to be part of the solution. I believe this to be true,” says Premier Moe.

The new Centre for Next Generation Technologies will be affiliated with the Nuclear Innovation Institute, with headquarters in Port Elgin.