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Duncan says no decision made on SMR location

Minister for Crown Investments Corporation Dustin Duncan reacts to Premier Moe’s comments at Food Fuel Fertilizer summit of Estevan as likely location for small modular reactor.
An artist's rendering of a small modular nuclear reactor.

REGINA - Dustin Duncan, the minister for the Crown Investments Corporation, says there is work to be done before a decision is made on the location of Saskatchewan's first potential small modular reactor (SMR). 

Duncan was asked at a media event Tuesday about a comment during Premier Scott Moe’s speech to the Food Fuel Fertilizer Global Summit on Monday. Moe said that SaskPower was to place an SMR “quite likely, in the Estevan area — but I don’t think that’s been announced yet.”

But the indication from Duncan seemed to be not so fast. 

“I would just say the premier’s comments, he certainly is right that Estevan is potentially one of the candidates for the home for Saskatchewan first nuclear reactor and SMR, but there is huge steps that I as a minister have to do along the way before we can formally make an announcement on that.”

Duncan acknowledged they were still looking at two regions of the province for a potential SMR - the Estevan and Elbow areas.

“The people of those areas have been very enthusiastic about the potential of deploying SMR’s in Saskatchewan and they’ve been really great to work with. I know SaskPower has been very complimentary to communities in those recent regions.”

But he noted “there’s a lot of work, and due diligence that SaskPower has to do behind the scenes first and foremost, a very broad consultation with people across the province, as we are putting this question in front of Saskatchewan as to whether or not the generation mix going forward will include nuclear.”

As for when a potential SMR location might be identified, Duncan said that by this summer “we’ll be able to be in a position to provide more definitive clarity based on what the premier had said yesterday.”

“And based on again, all the work that’s going on behind the scenes — lots of boxes we need to check in terms of process to get us to a point where we formally make a public announcement. But I would just say that lots of benefits to both regions — that’s why we wanted, what SaskPower wanted to do the due diligence we did to go through the process of establishing the benefits that would be available at both regions. Obviously, Estevan and area has been a very important part of SaskPower’s past and present in terms of generation and transmission and energy for Saskatchewan, and so for both of those reasons there’s lots of benefits for selecting that region. But as I said before, as a minister I still have a few other things on the list of things I have to check off before we can formally make the final decision on which region we would be selecting.”