Advertisement

Saskatchewan’s nuclear secretariat tasked to develop, deploy small modular reactors

Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan says clean nuclear energy will provide the province with the tools to fight climate change.
Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan says clean nuclear energy will provide the province with the tools to fight climate change. File / Global News

Saskatchewan is forging ahead with plans to establish an office to co-ordinate nuclear policy and program work.

The primary mandate of the nuclear secretariat is the development and execution of a strategic plan for the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs), said Environment Minister Dustin Duncan.

Read more: Saskatchewan giving early consideration for small nuclear reactors

“Clean nuclear energy will provide Saskatchewan the tools to fight climate change,” Duncan said Wednesday.

“The advancement of small modular reactors in Canada brings economic and environmental benefits with new clean technology that is also safe, reliable and competitively priced power.”

SMRs were highlighted last fall by Premier Scott Moe when the government released Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan.

Story continues below advertisement

The government said at the time that SMRs could potentially replace coal and natural gas baseload power, giving SaskPower the ability to generate up to 80 per cent of the province’s electricity without emissions.

SMRs can produce electricity in the range of 50 to 800 megawatts, as compared to current nuclear power plants that range between 600 and 1,600 megawatts.

Read more: Are small nuclear reactors really better? Here are the pros and cons

The plan notes the first SMR in the province could be operational by the early to mid-2030s.

Duncan said the new office will work within the province’s climate change and adaptation division and collaborate with outside partners.

“The deployment of small modular reactors in Saskatchewan will require collaboration with several partners to fully encompass the benefits Saskatchewan could see in way of jobs, enhanced value chains for Saskatchewan’s uranium and our made-in-Saskatchewan climate policy,” Duncan said.

Story continues below advertisement

Moe signed a memorandum of understanding with the premiers of Ontario and New Brunswick in November 2019 to explore new technology in nuclear power generation.

“Together, our province can achieve a bigger and bolder objective and see the opportunity to play a very major role in the development and deployment of SMR tech in our nation,” Moe said during the signing.

The government did not say where the new office will be located.

With files from David Baxter and Mickey Djuric