WEYBURN - A second public information open house was held in Weyburn as part of the consultation process by SaskPower to find suitable sites for two small nuclear power plants.
The open house was held at the Weyburn Legion Hall on April 26, with several information boards set up for the public to check over on the progress of the project.
As SaskPower narrows down its options for siting two small nuclear power plants, the criteria for finding a suitable site were spelled out on the boards, and a questionnaire was provided to ask residents what their priorities are for where a plant might be located.
A series of open houses were held on April 25 and 26, as consultants visited Carlyle, Oxbow and Alameda on April 25, and Macoun, Midale and Weyburn on April 26, with a virtual meeting held on May 2.
Another series of meetings were also held in the Elbow region, as the search for a site has been focused on Lake Diefenbaker, and in the southeast, mainly in the Rafferty-Boundary Dam areas.
Some of the new information provided at the open house related to the water systems for a nuclear power plant, and the process for narrowing down the potential sites for a plant.
Consultant Alexis Doyle explained the two systems used to cool down a nuclear reactor, and gauged public support for which system would work best in the southeast region.
One system would use water circulated through a cooling tower, while the other would use a water body, taking and returning water to the water source.
A power generator would have a closed loop of water used for heating into steam to turn a turbine and generate power. Separately there is water used to cool the generator, and this is the water used from either a cooling tower or a water body.
In regard to finding a suitable site for a small nuclear plant, consultant Travis Sandeski explained the process being used to narrow it down to two locations. The decisions have not been made on the locations, he noted, but he said at this point, it’s possible one each could be at Elbow and on Rafferty, or both could be in one location, all depending on the many factors that go into determining a final location.
Factors that will go into selecting a site include the environmental, social-cultural and technical factors and requirements, its proximity to transportation corridors and the work force, and the views of the stakeholders, communities and area residents in the areas concerned.
In a map of the area around the Rafferty and Boundary reservoirs, there were areas on the shores which have been identified as suitable, considering environmental and other factors in their locations.
Sandeski said they will likely select a site or sites within a year to year and a half before moving on to the next step of determining if or when a nuclear plant would be constructed.