SaskPower announced on Monday it is partnering with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and its commercial subsidiary Laurentis Energy to continue the development of nuclear power and a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) in Saskatchewan.
The five-year Master Services Agreement would allow Saskatchewan and Ontario to share lessons learned, technical resources, expertise, best practices and operating experience.
Ontario and OPG is Canada’s largest nuclear power operator with 10 big reactors in operation powering over 50 per cent of the province.
“Fifty-two years ago, units one and two at Pickering came online. Since then, the role of nuclear on Ontario’s grid has only grown and it’s helped our province transition off of coal. It’s proven itself as a safe and reliable and clean source of base-load electricity,” said Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith.
OPG is in the process of building four SMRs at its new Darlington Nuclear Generation Site on the north shore of Lake Ontario. OPG hopes to have the SMRs online by 2029.
“By entering into the Master Services Agreement, it really sets up a partnership between two companies that have a very similar ethos and a very similar way to approach things and, as much as we’ll bring some of our nuclear background to this partnership, we’ll learn a lot as well. I actually think it’ll make our project on our Darlington site more successful,” said OPG president and CEO Ken Hartwick.
Laurentis will bring a focus on project management, licensing and operational readiness activities.
“We provide expertise and inspections, refurbishment, engineering, isotopes and SMR advancement programs. We’re currently leading the development of SMRs in a number of countries in Europe as well as Canada,” said Laurentis vice president Lindsay Greenland.
Saskatchewan is currently looking at two potential areas to build an SMR, along the shores of Lake Diefenbaker in the Elbow area and in the Estevan area. Saskatchewan is expected to make a final decision about nuclear power and SMRs in 2029.
SaskPower president and CEO Rupen Pandya gave an update on the location selection process.
“We hope to be in a position of having identified suitable sites within both study regions by early 2024 and then ultimately, we will need to identify a specific site for our application to CNSC as part of the impact assessment and Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission project description,” Pandya said.
Minister Responsible for SaskPower Dustin Duncan said Saskatchewan has been collaborating with Ontario for several years and this agreement would allow the province to further tap into that expertise.
“For many years, Ontario has been a valued partner across many sectors. Our two provinces share a common vision of Canada’s energy future and a care part of this vision is the role nuclear power can play,” Duncan said.
OPG and SaskPower have both selected the GE Hitachi BWRX-300 SMR for potential deployment.
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