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SaskPower small nuclear reactor site decision pushed back for more consultation

Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta governments have agreed to a joint strategic plan outlining a path towards the use of small modular reactors (SMRs). AP Photo/Keith Ridler, File

Saskatchewan is in the very early stages of setting up small modular reactors (SMRs) as an energy source, with construction not slated until 2030.

Even so, Scott McGregor, media relations consultant for SaskPower, said they’ve made a slight tweak in their timeline to allow for more discussion.

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“Ultimately the project timeline hasn’t changed at all. What has changed from our strategic direction that was announced a few months ago was in that direction, the date of 2023 to establish a site was communicated,” said McGregor.

“We looked at the project timelines, and the schedule of everything, and we determined we had some more time built into it that we could go and engage with Indigenous rights holders, with stakeholders, with public and so on.”

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He said the whole process is very long, and that a provincewide determination of where SMRs could go is underway.

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“The final decision whether or not we’re going to proceed with nuclear power from SMRs is not going to be made until 2029. In order to even be able to make that decision in 2029 we have to obtain the licenses. There are a number of federal licenses that need to be obtained.”

McGregor noted that there’s more engagement that needs to happen, and they need to choose the technology they are going to proceed with to help streamline the process.

Saskatchewan has chosen to go with GE’s Hitachi Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 Small Modular Reactor technology for potential deployment in the province.

If all goes as planned, the first SMR could be operational by 2034.

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