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SaskPower Selects the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 Small Modular Reactor Technology for Potential Deployment in Saskatchewan

Following a thorough assessment of several Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technologies, SaskPower has selected the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 for potential deployment in Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s.

“This is an important milestone as Saskatchewan works towards a cleaner, more sustainable future,” said Don Morgan, Minister responsible for SaskPower. “Today’s announcement further acts on the Saskatchewan Growth Plan goal of advancing potential development of zero-emission small modular reactor technology.”

SaskPower’s assessment focused on several key factors including safety, technology readiness, generation size, fuel type and expected cost of electricity. The selection follows an independent and comprehensive assessment process that also included close collaboration with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and a review by Calian, an independent engineering firm with extensive experience in Canada’s nuclear industry.

“We are excited that SaskPower has chosen our technology as it looks to SMRs for the generation of carbon-free electricity,” said Jay Wileman, President & CEO, GEH. “We believe the BWRX-300 is an ideal solution for SaskPower and customers that want to make an impact on climate change and energy security in a meaningful timeframe. Decades of design and licensing experience coupled with our proven and existing fuel supply chain position the BWRX-300 as the leading SMR solution.”

“Today marks the beginning of an exciting relationship between SaskPower and GE-Hitachi, a leader in the nuclear energy field that has the potential to benefit SaskPower and Saskatchewan for many decades to come,” said Interim President and CEO at SaskPower, Troy King. “We are committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions while providing safe, reliable, and sustainable power for our customers, and GE-Hitachi’s SMR technology could play a powerful role in this future.”

SaskPower has assessed the potential for a pan-Canadian, fleet-based deployment of nuclear power from SMRs since 2019. A fleet-based approach offers many advantages for Saskatchewan, including lower regulatory, construction and operating costs while also eliminating first-of-a-kind risk.

In December 2021, OPG selected the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 for their Darlington New Nuclear Project in Ontario. SaskPower’s selection of the same technology helps enable a pan-Canadian, fleet-based approach to SMR deployment.

SaskPower will not make a decision whether to build an SMR until 2029. However, several years of complex project development, licencing and regulatory work is required to maintain nuclear power from SMRs as an option by the mid-2030s; two key requirements of this work are selecting an SMR technology and identifying an appropriate site for the first nuclear power facility. SaskPower is currently conducting a detailed technical evaluation of potential regions that could host an SMR, and is expected to identify these suitable regions this year.

SaskPower is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030 and ultimately to achieve net zero GHG emissions by 2050. To meet this goal, SaskPower is evaluating and/or developing a comprehensive range of non-emitting power supply options, including expanded wind and solar, strengthening electrical interconnections with neighbouring jurisdictions, biomass, geothermal, and nuclear power from SMRs.

SaskPower is committed to an open and transparent dialogue with Indigenous peoples, municipalities, stakeholders, and the public as Saskatchewan makes the transition to a cleaner energy future. SaskPower will conduct meaningful and ongoing Indigenous, community and stakeholder engagement throughout this entire project. To learn more about the SaskPower’s SMR project, and how to join the conversation, visit saskpower.com/nuclear.

At a glance…

  • SaskPower has selected the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 for potential deployment in the mid-2030s
  • SaskPower is in a multi-year planning phase to potentially develop nuclear power from SMRs
  • Selecting an SMR technology is required to advance planning, regulatory and licencing work
  • A decision whether to construct an SMR won’t be made until 2029

Source: SaskPower