SaskPower announced on Sept. 20 the search for potential sites for a small modular reactor (SMR) has been narrowed to two locations.
The Crown-owned utility has selected both Estevan and Elbow as locations for further study on their feasibility as a site for an SMR.
The feasibility studies will take a closer look at the areas around the Boundary/Rafferty and the Grant Devine Dams near Estevan, and Lake Diefenbaker, and both the Gardiner and Diefenbaker Dams by Elbow. Formal consultation with Indigenous rightsholders will also commence in both identified areas, and as well as engagement activities with the public, municipalities, businesses, residents and more.
The multi-year plan will continue with a full evaluation of the potential sites that were chosen as the two most viable locations in the province based on a variety of criteria— notably access to water for the cooling operations, infrastructure to build and maintain the sites, and an ability to provide and house a viable workforce.
“Feedback and perspectives from not just the regions but from the entire province are very important to SaskPower as we plan to potentially incorporate nuclear power into the generation mix,” said Rupen Pandya, SaskPower’s president and CEO at SaskPower. “Engagement and consultation with Indigenous Rightsholders and the public is critical to this project, and I encourage the people of Saskatchewan to reach out and engage with us on this important project.”
A final decision will not be made until 2029, but lengthy regulatory and planning work must be done prior to any commitment.
“By identifying these two study areas, SaskPower has reached another critical milestone in its planning work to potentially bring nuclear power to Saskatchewan,” said the Honourable Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for SaskPower. “Saskatchewan’s commitment to a sustainable, reliable, and affordable electrical system is evident with today’s announcement.”
Earlier this year, SaskPower selected a potential SMR for deployment in the province—the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300—in the mid-2030s. SaskPower assessed potential reactor options before choosing GE-Hitachi, looking at safety, technology readiness, generation size, fuel type and expected cost of electricity. The selection follows an independent and comprehensive assessment process that also included close collaboration with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and a review by Calian, an independent engineering firm with extensive experience in Canada’s nuclear industry.