Saskatchewan and Ontario say they've taken another step toward implementing small modular reactor (SMR) technology in both provinces.
Dustin Duncan, Saskatchewan's minister responsible for SaskPower, was joined by Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith Monday morning as SaskPower announced it had signed a master services agreement with Ontario Power Generation and its subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners.
The five-year deal between the two Crown corporations will allow them to co-ordinate the development of a Canadian fleet of small modular nuclear reactors, Duncan said.
"To have an agreement that allows us to tap into that expertise and knowledge from a jurisdiction and organizations that have a great deal of expertise and history in the nuclear sector is critically important for Saskatchewan to carry forward with," he said.
Ontario is currently building the first of four SMRs at its nuclear facility in Darlington.
SaskPower has identified Estevan, located in the province's southeast, and Elbow, located about midway between Saskatoon and Regina, as two sites that could potentially host SMRs.
A final decision on the location to build one SMR is not expected until late 2024, SaskPower CEO Rupen Pandya told media.
"We've had ongoing consultations with communities and members in those communities regarding those sites," Pandya said.
An artist's rendering of the SMR technology proposed for Ontario's Darlington location. Saskatchewan plans on exploring the same type of reactor. (Ontario Power Generation)
What is an SMR?
SMRs generate nuclear power. The idea is to help fuel the transition to net-zero emissions and meet the federal government's climate goals.
Saskatchewan and three other provinces — Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta — have led the charge on developing SMR technology to help supply power in their respective provinces.
Like their name implies, SMRs are much smaller than traditional nuclear reactors.
While a conventional nuclear reactor generates about 1,000 megawatts of energy, SMRs generate between 200 and 300 megawatts — enough to power about 300,000 homes.
A final decision on whether to build a SMR in Saskatchewan is not expected until 2029.
The GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 is the type of reactor identified for development in Saskatchewan. It's the same model chosen by Ontario Power Generation.
If approved, construction could begin as early as 2030, with the first SMR coming on line sometime in 2034. Additional facilities could follow.