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Premier: First SMRs 'quite likely' to be in the Estevan area

Premier Scott Moe may have just tipped off a Sask. Chamber audience that Estevan might end up chosen as the location of the small modular reactor project.
Premier Scott Moe seen speaking to the audience at the Food Fuel Fertilizer summit in Regina.

REGINA - Premier Scott Moe may have let the cat out of the bag on where SaskPower’s small modular reactor (SMR) project is likely to be located.

During his address at the Food Fuel Fertilizer Global Summit, held by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce, Moe spoke of the opportunities Saskatchewan has to “harness uranium right here at home in our province, as we look at providing that surety of electricity supply in the future.

“That’s why SaskPower was actively looking at small modular reactors being placed, quite likely, in the Estevan area — but I don’t think that’s been announced yet.”

That line raised some eyebrows among those in the audience at the Delta hotel in Regina, as SaskPower has, up to now, focused on two possible locations for an SMR, in the Estevan and Elbow areas. Back in September 2022, SaskPower had announced they selected two areas in Saskatchewan for further study to host small modular reactors. There was a 40-kilometre radius around Boundary Dam/Rafferty Dam and a 40-kilometre radius around Grant Devine Dam in the southeast; and the other was the area around Lake Diefenbaker from Gardiner Dam to Diefenbaker Dam near Elbow.

Decisions on narrowing down the potential location is not expected until later this year, and a final decision on SMRs is not expected until 2029.

Opposition critic Aleana Young was at the Food Fuel Fertilizer summit. At the Legislature later in the afternoon, she was asked about Moe apparently letting slip the potential location.

“I was listening closely to the premier’s comments, obviously, and unclear on whether that was a formal announcement or not. Certainly the community of Estevan will be thrilled. It’s a community that’s been dealing with a huge amount of economic uncertainty,” said Young, pointing to the pending phaseout of coal.

“If the premier is making these promises I suppose I hope they’re true for the community of Estevan, and I also think it points to some of the concerns that we’ve raised around whether or not these timelines and commitments that SaskPower is making publicly are real.”