SAINT JOHN -- The province of New Brunswick has set its sights on Point Lepreau as the future location of a second nuclear reactor, but on a much smaller scale.

"We're committed to using the location that we have as Point Lepreau to come alongside Arc Nuclear and allow them to have a groundbreaking location with which they can develop this technology," said Energy Development Minister Mike Holland.

Holland said Monday the province is committing to building a small modular reactor, or SMR at Lepreau.

The announcement coincides with Arc Canada unveiling its progress in bringing its technology to market.

"We've hit a major milestone," said Arc Canada President Norman J.D. Sawyer.

The company says it has cleared the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission vendor design review for its reactor.

"The plan is about 2028 is when the thing would start up, the small modular reactor would start up," Sawyer said.

Last year, New Brunswick committed $10 million to creating a research cluster in the field of SMRs.

Last week, New Brunswick signed a memorandum of understanding with Ontario and Saskatchewan to collaborate on developing SMRs.

"We have to decarbonize and get off these fossil fuels, so nuclear energy including the development of these SMRs will play a very important role, not just for New Brunswick, but if it's successful, and approved by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, it can play an important role for other countries," said environmentalist Gordon Dalzell.