Written by David Alston

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved the way that technological advances could help solve problems. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with many technology startups throughout my career as an employee, owner, investor, mentor, and coach. I’ve had the good fortune to work with many talented people with incredible ideas from right here in the Maritimes. And while I’ve had the privilege to travel the world with these various ventures I have never felt the need to leave New Brunswick to follow my passion for innovation, and as such my family has had the opportunity to grow up in this beautiful province we still call home.

One of the areas of innovation that I’ve always been fascinated with is energy, specifically green and non-carbon-emitting energy. I grew up on a family farm which saw my father pour his creative energy into trying to invent a new type of windmill, and over 45 years later part of that installation still points into the wind. As soon as hybrid vehicles became available, I was one of the first to drive them, and with the availability of EVs we switched over from hybrids and have now been driving them for nearly six years. A few summers ago, we also installed a grid-connected solar array at our summer place to virtually offset its energy use.

When it comes to greening the electrical grid, I appreciate that even with the continual addition of more wind and solar, the intermittent nature of each supply will most likely never perfectly align with the mostly predictable demands of industrial and residential users. While battery and other storage technologies will eventually play a role in helping to match supply and demand, there is still the need for steady sources of electricity that are not carbon emitting to help us eliminate the use of fossil fuels and tackle the issues related to climate change.

A few years ago, I started following, with interest, the advancements happening around nuclear energy. It was around then when I first heard about the potential for SMRs or small modular reactors and the notion that some of them could run on recycled nuclear waste. While current nuclear energy methods produce less waste than many other energy sources, some of the waste remains radioactive for a long time and needs to be stored securely.

When I discovered that Moltex Energy was developing SMR technology here in New Brunswick, I was thrilled. What makes Moltex’s technologies so exciting is that not only can they recycle nuclear waste and turn it into fuel for their SMR, but in doing so, waste volume and radioactivity are reduced, making it easier to manage. It also uses a secure, and previously overlooked fuel source that we have readily available.

Over the years, I’ve repeatedly expressed my belief in New Brunswick’s innovation capabilities and potential. Organizations like Brilliant Labs, Place aux compétences, The Gaia Project, and many others continue to collaborate with our creative and highly driven teachers and students in New Brunswick to help develop our future entrepreneurs, creators and inventors. I, like many others, want to see the province continue to shine, and I want our youth to have the opportunity to unlock their full potential and be part of building something amazing.

As it happens, one of Moltex’s younger mechanical engineers is someone I’ve known since his childhood. With an insatiable appetite to learn and incredibly supportive parents, I watched him thrive growing up and graduating from the University of New Brunswick with a degree in mechanical engineering. Now, he’s helping to develop one of the most advanced reactors in the world – all this, from the place where he grew up and his family lives.

So, as the world seeks to reduce carbon emissions, I’m proud to live in a province developing cutting-edge solutions – including one that promises to deliver substantial environmental and economic benefits, not just for here at home, but for potentially millions of people around the world.

David Alston is a New Brunswick-based marketing and startup entrepreneur.