Canada’s Saskatchewan Power Corporation (SaskPower), US-based Westinghouse Electric Company and Canada’s Cameco Corporation have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to evaluate the potential of Westinghouse’s nuclear reactor technology and associated nuclear fuel supply chain for Saskatchewan’s future power needs.

The MOU will explore technical and commercial pathways to deploy Westinghouse’s reactor technology, including its AP1000 reactor and AP300 small modular reactor (SMR), for long-term electricity supply planning. The framework includes evaluation of a Saskatchewan-based nuclear supply chain to support nuclear energy projects, including fuel. It also identifies opportunities to collaborate on nuclear research, development and workforce training.

SaskPower is expected to make a final investment decision in 2029 whether to proceed with constructing Saskatchewan’s first SMR facility. The utility intends to use Saskatchewan uranium in any reactor constructed in the province. Earlier in June, SaskPower identified two potential sites for the first SMR. Both sites are in the Estevan area in the south-east of the province. The aim is to begin detailed site analysis for final site selection in 2025. Officials have said early planning is required to ensure the province meets regulations. If it is approved, the SMR could be operational by 2035.

Saskatchewan does not currently use nuclear power but SMR technology has been under consideration since the publication of a provincial roadmap in 2019. In June 2022, SaskPower selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s BWRX-300 SMR for potential deployment of the first unit by 2034, with another to potentially follow shortly after at the same facility. OPG had already selected the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 for their Darlington New Nuclear Project in Ontario with a target of completion by 2028.

“Leveraging knowledge from organizations that have significant expertise in the nuclear industry is critical to ensure we make responsible, informed decisions around our power future,” said Rupen Pandya, President and CEO of SaskPower. “Collaborating on nuclear fuel supply and evaluating various technologies will only serve to enhance our current SMR development work and planning around workforce and the future of Saskatchewan’s power system.”