Saskatchewan's Growth Plan: The Next Decade of Growth 2020-2030 includes the goal of "reducing carbon emissions in electricity production and advancing the development of zero-emission small modular reactor technology using Saskatchewan uranium." Small modular reactors could play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electrical generation in Saskatchewan.
Depending on the type selected for deployment, small modular reactors could also help boost uranium production, enhance nuclear research and add jobs in construction and facilities operations.
In December 2019, Saskatchewan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ontario and New Brunswick towards the evaluation and implementation of SMRs.
Milestones for the MOU include: a Ministers' meeting to discuss approaches (completed in February 2020), a feasibility report (anticipated for release in early 2021), and a strategic plan (anticipated for late winter 2021).
About Saskatchewan's Small Modular Reactor Unit
- Saskatchewan is committed to exploring the development and deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) to support economic and population growth, and meet the challenges of climate change.
- The Minister of Environment is the lead for Saskatchewan, and is supported by a new Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Unit in the Climate Change and Adaptation Division that is responsible for coordinating a provincial approach with other ministries and SaskPower.
- Government established the SMR Unit, also previously referred to as the nuclear secretariat, in 2020. The primary responsibility of the SMR Unit is to fulfil MOU commitments, coordinate provincial SMR strategic planning and implementation, and lead industry, stakeholder and community engagement, including with Indigenous groups.
- The provincial utilities of Ontario, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan collaborated on an MOU feasibility study, which explains economic and technical feasibility of SMRs in Canada and the provinces and outlines at a high level the support needed from federal and provincial governments and the nuclear industry.
- Following the release of the MOU feasibility study in early 2021, the provinces of Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick (with Alberta expected in the near future) will collaborate on an MOU strategic plan. The strategic plan will outline a strategic roadmap with key considerations and actions for enabling SMR development and deployment in the four provinces.
- The SMR Unit has started to meet with ministries, agencies and external organizations to explore opportunities, prioritize actions and identify dependencies to enable informed planning in the short-term, and ensure the safe, responsible deployment and operation of SMRs into the future. Following the release of the strategic plan in spring 2021, the SMR unit will pursue stakeholder, community and Indigenous engagement throughout 2021.
- The SMR Unit has established an inter-ministerial working group, which includes SaskPower, to coordinate the many facets and priorities of the strategic planning work.