Despite being one of the world’s largest producers of uranium, Saskatchewan currently does not generate nuclear energy.
Premier Scott Moe said on Thursday that it will change “very shortly”.
“We’re actively looking as we have to lower our emissions in the electricity generation portfolio. One of those options most certainly are small modular reactors,” Moe said.
Construction of a small modular reactor (SMR) in Saskatchewan is considered a way of transitioning to zero emission electrical generation, and using uranium resources with the province.
In 2019, Saskatchewan signed an agreement with Ontario and New Brunswick toward evaluation of new SMR technology. On Monday, SaskPower will announce the next steps in the decision making process and will also now assess reactors on the market and consider possible locations.
The opposition NDP would like to see more public discussions before any final decisions are made.
“We’ve been clear about where we’re at on the opportunity and the challenges that SMRs may provide in Saskatchewan,” NDP MLA Aleana Young said. “Of course energy security is of massive concern to everyone in Saskatchewan as is the condition of our grid and the necessity for clean base load power, but there are going to be a huge number of people in the province who have questions and who have concerns .”
“We’re not like Ontario. We don’t have existing nuclear power facilities and this needs to be a real conversation with people in Saskatchewan, not just about the business case and dollars and cents but about the environment and all of the implications for our communities,” Young added.
SaskPower has not made a decision about generating nuclear energy. If the idea wins public support and proves feasible, a small modular reactor could be operating in the province as early as 2030.
SMRs are not the only avenue the province is considering as it looks to lower emissions.
“Other options include additional carbon capture and storage understanding that has an impact on some of our more aged oilfields down in the area with the ultimate enhanced oil recovery, Moe said.