Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan: the Next Decade of Growth 2020-2030, released on 14 November, includes goals for reducing carbon emissions from electricity generation and development of small modular reactor (SMR) technology.
The Canadian province could have its first operational SMR by the middle of the 2030s, according to a provincial roadmap. The plan lists 30 goals for 2030, including key targets of a population of 1.4 million people, 100,000 new jobs, and increasing exports by 50%.
All of Canada's current uranium production comes from Saskatchewan. However, it does not use nuclear power, with 84% of the province's electricity coming from fossil fuels, with the rest from renewables, primarily hydroelectricity.
Utility SaskPower plans to develop lower-carbon electricity generation as part of the Growth Plan. SaskPower's current goal is to reduce carbon emissions by over 40% from 2005 levels by 2030, which will involve increasing the amount of renewable electricity in Saskatchewan's generation mix "up to as much as 50%" by 2030.
"Incorporating nuclear power through small modular reactors (SMRs) into Saskatchewan's energy mix could provide SaskPower with the ability to generate up to 80% of the province's electricity through zero-emission sources when combined with renewable power sources," the Growth plan says.
The first SMR could be operational in Saskatchewan by the early- to mid-2030s. "To ensure SMRs are an option for Saskatchewan's power future, the Government of Saskatchewan will partner with New Brunswick and Ontario to continue research and evaluation of SMRs as a new source of electricity production in Canada."
The plan also sets a goal to increase the annual value of Saskatchewan's uranium sales to CAD2 billion ($1.5bn) by 2030. To support this, the provincial government will work with the federal government to remove barriers to global market access and foreign investment restrictions on uranium. It also plans to support the growth and sustainability of the province's economy through innovation in mining and highlights in-situ mining for uranium and the introduction of sensor-based sorting as key technology areas.