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SaskPower Inks Deal with GE Hitachi to Develop Nuclear Power

SaskPower and GE Hitachi have recently entered into an agreement to progress nuclear power initiatives in Saskatchewan. This partnership, formalized on Tuesday at the SaskPower headquarters in Regina, is aimed at establishing a small modular reactor (SMR) in the region.

Under this agreement, SaskPower will collaborate with GE Hitachi on various aspects, including the design, fuel sourcing, and fabrication of a BWRX-300 reactor, a technology chosen in 2022. This collaboration will also facilitate workforce development and supply chain management crucial for deploying an SMR in Saskatchewan.

Additionally, SaskPower has formed a master services agreement with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Laurentis Energy Partners. OPG, which has also opted for the BWRX-300 technology, is currently constructing one of four SMRs at its Darlington nuclear facility.

Potential locations for the modular reactor in Saskatchewan are being considered, with Estevan and Elbow as the primary candidates. SaskPower President and CEO Rupen Pandya mentioned ongoing site-specific studies and geotechnical testing, aiming to file an impact assessment application by 2025.

Pandya emphasized SaskPower’s commitment to achieving the province’s 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target, acknowledging the accelerated 2035 deadline set by the federal government. He stressed the importance of partnerships with experienced organizations in the nuclear sector to reach these goals.

When queried about possible plans to construct multiple SMRs like OPG, Pandya indicated that the current focus is on the initial reactor.

Lisa McBride, GE Hitachi Canada’s vice president and country leader, addressed nuclear waste management. She explained that waste could be temporarily stored within the reactor before being moved to permanent locations. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is still in the process of selecting a permanent site, with South Bruce and Ignace in Ontario as the primary candidates.

McBride also highlighted the long-term planning required for waste management, mentioning that it would involve coordination with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and SaskPower, and stakeholder engagement.

SaskPower has set 2029 as the year to make a final decision on advancing with nuclear power.

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