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Saskatchewan is one step closer to introducing SMR technology

Click to play video: 'Moving forward on small modular reactors' Moving forward on small modular reactors
WATCH: Dr. John Root from the Sylvia Fedoruk Centre explains what SMRs are and how they could replace coal-produced electricity – Mar 30, 2022

Saskatchewan has made a significant step towards potentially bringing nuclear power to the province.

Click to play video: 'Following in Ontario’s footsteps : Don Morgan expands on SMR construction timeline' Following in Ontario’s footsteps : Don Morgan expands on SMR construction timeline
Following in Ontario’s footsteps : Don Morgan expands on SMR construction timeline – Jun 27, 2022

Minister responsible for SaskPower, Don Morgan, said the crown corporation has been looking at what technology is the best fit for Saskatchewan.

Read more: Saskatchewan Indigenous companies to explore SMR investments

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On Monday, Morgan said after three years of evaluating technologies, SaskPower has selected the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 to proceed with the small modular reactor (SMR) development project.

Morgan said this technology was chosen based on key factors such as safety and fuel type.

He added the BWRX-300 is also the SMR technology being developed in other parts of the country in the near future, meaning there is “mitigated risk and reduced costs through economies of scale.”

“Today’s announcement marks an important milestone on Saskatchewan’s path to a cleaner energy future and a significant step forward to a more sustainable Canada,” Morgan said.

Ontario Power Generation also selected the BWRX-300 in December 2022 — Morgan said this will allow the two provinces to collaborate, share resources, and streamline projects.

Morgan said this will cut back on costs and “make the regulatory process much more efficient.”

Click to play video: 'Cameco excited about small modular reactors prospects' Cameco excited about small modular reactors prospects
Cameco excited about small modular reactors prospects – Oct 15, 2021

SaskPower interim CEO Troy King said ultimately, the decision whether to proceed with nuclear power won’t be made until 2029.

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“However, to keep SMRs as an option until that time, SaskPower must proceed with a multi-year planning process,” King said Monday.

The process will include “extensive” engagement with the public, SaskPower customers and Indigenous groups.

As for other next steps, Morgan added the province is also working on a site evaluation on different locations within Saskatchewan.

Read more: Could nuclear power help B.C. reach its climate change goals? SFU research makes the case

Morgan said the province will weigh public acceptance, finding the right partners, and site selection before making a decision about moving forward.

If the province were to go ahead with the process, King said SaskPower is looking at starting production by 2034.

From now until 2029, SaskPower has $140 million budgeted for the project.

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