Saskatchewan provinceThe Government of Saskatchewan has announced plans to establish an office to coordinate nuclear policy and programme work within the Climate Change & Adaptation Division in the Ministry of Environment.

The development and execution of a strategic plan for deployment of clean energy small modular reactors (SMRs) will be the primary mandate of the Nuclear Secretariat.

“The deployment of small modular reactors in Saskatchewan will require collaboration with several partners to fully encompass the benefits Saskatchewan could see in way of jobs, enhanced value-chains for Saskatchewan’s uranium, and our made-in-Saskatchewan climate policy,” said Environment Minister Dustin Duncan.

In December 2019, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on with the Premiers of Ontario and New Brunswick to cooperate for deployment of SMR technology across Canada. Under the non-binding MOU, the parties committed to work to: advance the development and deployment of SMRs to address the needs of their provinces with regards to addressing climate change, regional energy demand, economic development and research and innovation opportunities; and address key issues for SMR deployment including technological readiness, regulatory frameworks, economics and financing, nuclear waste management and public and Indigenous engagement.

Broader collaboration with the Government of Saskatchewan will facilitate opportunities within the province for financing, regulation, labour capacity, public engagement and economic growth, according to the government statement. “Clean nuclear energy will provide Saskatchewan the tools to fight climate change,” Duncan said.

“The advancement of small modular reactors in Canada brings economic and environmental benefits with new clean technology that is also safe, reliable and competitively priced power.”

Duncan said the use of SMRs in the province is not imminent, and they will likely would not be operational in Saskatchewan until the 2030s at the earliest, if at all, CBC reported. "We just want to make sure we're well-positioned and not trying to catch up to answer some of these questions if in the event by the late 2020s we make the decision to integrate SMRs into Saskatchewan's power grid."

Ontario-based Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in April 2018 issued an invitation for SMR project proponents to evaluate the construction and operation of a demonstration unit at one of its sites.

Canada's federal Department of Natural Resources in November 2018  released an SMR roadmap, which estimated the potential value of SMRs in Canada at $5.3bn between 2025 and 2040.

"Some SMR designs could be deployed in the near term with most available within the next 7 to 15 years. For some of the more tested technologies, the timeline challenges are not so much with the reactor design as with economic, social, regulatory and waste management issues," the SMR roadmap said.

Photo: Flag of Saskatchewan province