Saskatchewan and Alberta sign nuclear memorandum of understanding

Saskatchewan and Alberta sign nuclear memorandum of understanding
Saskatchewan and Alberta sign nuclear memorandum of understanding

The governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday to promote the development of nuclear energy production by 2050.

The announcement was made at a press conference in Regina by the minister responsible for SaskEnergyDustin Duncan, accompanied by his Alberta counterpart from Public Services, Nathan Neudorf.

This collaboration is part of a shared vision to provide energy solutions reliable, affordable and durable to meet the growing electricity needs of the two provinces, we can read in a press release.

This interprovincial agreement provides for an exchange of information on various aspects, including workforce design, improvement of the nuclear supply chain, as well as regulatory framework and technological innovation related to nuclear reactors, such as small modular reactors (SMR).

Saskatchewan has a long-standing cooperative relationship with Alberta on energy development, and we share the same challenges and opportunities related to decarbonizationindicates Dustin Duncan in the press release.

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Alberta Public Services Minister Nathan Neudorf (left) with Minister responsible for SaskEnergy Dustin Duncan (right).

Photo: Radio-Canada / Cory Herperger

For his part, Nathan Neudorf is also delighted with the signing of this memorandum of understanding.

Our provinces are at the forefront of responsible energy development around the world, and we look forward to leveraging Saskatchewan’s experience in nuclear power generationspecifies Nathan Neudorf in the press release.

What is a PRM?

Small modular reactors, as their name suggests, are distinguished by their reduced size compared to conventional nuclear reactors.

While a traditional nuclear reactor typically generates around 1000 megawatts of energy, PRM have a production capacity of between 200 and 300 megawatts, making it possible to supply nearly 300,000 homes.

This initiative aims to play a cardinal role in the transition to net zero emissions.

In 2019, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick signed a memorandum of understanding to develop PRM in Canada. Alberta formally joined this agreement in 2021.

Saskatchewan has mandated SaskEnergy, the state-owned company, to explore this technology. So far, SaskPower identified Estevan, in the southeast of the province, as well as Elbow, located between Saskatoon and Regina, as potential sites to host PRM.

The final decision on the choice of the construction site for a reactor is not expected before the end of 2024, and that concerning the construction of a PRM in Saskatchewan is not expected until 2029.

If approved, work could begin as early as 2030, and the first PRM in Saskatchewan would be operational in 2034.

In Alberta, the push for PRM recently moved to the feasibility study stage. A collaboration between Capital Power And Ontario Power Generation (OPG) was announced in January 2024, with the aim of assessing the viability of the construction of PRM for the production of electricity.

In March, Nathan Neudorf raised the possibility of the province of Alberta opting for conventional nuclear power plants, similar to those already in operation in New Brunswick and Ontario.

Ontario is building the first of four reactors PRM at its Darlington nuclear power plant, a site near Bowmanville, east of Toronto.

With information from Alexander Quon

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