Estevan Or Elbow Could Be The Site For Saskatchewan’s First-Ever Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, Estimated At $5B Each
Electric utility company SaskPower identified on Monday the shortlisted areas it is looking at and studying to host Saskatchewan’s first potential small modular nuclear reactor site.
The Crown corporation has narrowed down the potential sites to the Estevan and Elbow areas. Specifically, there are two sites near Estevan around Boundary Dam and another around the Grant Devine Dam, while there’s one site near Elbow near to Lake Diefenbaker.
The company has been evaluating the areas for meeting the criteria of being an SMR nuclear site, specifically on its proximity to a water source, ease of connecting to an existing transmission line, and the ability to support a workforce.
“The Estevan area has been a very important part of SaskPower’s history. Through the Boundary Dam, Shand power station producing stable, reliable baseload power for decades, to the hundreds of employees that call Estevan home,” said president Rupen Pandya.
On the Elbow area, Pandya added that “Lake Diefenbaker has been always been at the top of the list as one of the most technically suitable locations to potentially to host a nuclear facility.”
The electric company is eyeing at building one or two reactors, with an estimated construction cost for an SMR of around $5 billion.
The final area is expected to be chosen by 2023 and the specific site by 2024. However, the province isn’t yet making the decision to adopt SMR nuclear power to its grid until the 2029 deadline.
Should the government decide to push through with it, SMR could be operational by 2035.
Currently, Saskatchewan’s electricity grid relies on coal for 25% of its power, with a goal to shift to natural gas as its baseload source by 2030.
“We’ll now begin consultations with First Nation and Métis locals and extensive public engagement work to determine the best location,” the company said on its next steps. It is opening the project for consultations with the public, with the meeting for regional indigenous and stakeholder committees who signed up to participate set to kickoff by November 2022.
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