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Estevan selected to be the site of Sask's first SMR

Premier Scott Moe made the announcement Thursday night in Estevan.
smr-announcement
Premier Scott Moe delivered a big announcement for Estevan on Thursday night.

ESTEVAN - 

The Energy City has been selected as the location for the first small modular reactor (SMR) in Saskatchewan.

Premier Scott Moe made the announcement Thursday night while speaking at the 120th anniversary celebrations of the Estevan Chamber of Commerce. Estevan had been vying with the Elbow area for the right to be home to the first SMR.

Prior to making the announcement, the premier alluded to his statement a few weeks earlier that the first SMR would "quite likely" be in Estevan.

"I'm here today to probably put a little bit of meat on that bone. Up until today, SaskPower's been focused on really two regions where they could locate an SMR," said Moe.

But now SaskPower is focusing on one region, and that is Estevan – if SaskPower goes down the nuclear path.

"We don't have a lot of other options, so that's the path we're most certainly looking at," Moe said to applause from the crowd.

SaskPower confirmed the premier's statement in a news release Friday morning.

Boundary Dam Reservoir and Rafferty Reservoir are now being considered as options. The premier said Grant Devine Lake near Alameda is no longer viewed as a candidate.

"They're going to consult and further do some testing on which of those locations will work," said Moe. 

The premier predicted this would create a significant number of jobs during the construction of the SMR, and long-term operational jobs at the plant once it is open.

He said SaskPower needs to make use of the Estevan area's transmission lines, which carry over 1,000 megawatts of power. 

The Estevan area also has the necessary workforce.

"We're focused on the continuity of that workforce and finding our way to a generation source like nuclear in the future, and that continuity, I think, is an opportunity for SaskPower and for us as a province to continue to produce power out of Estevan," said Moe.

The project still has to go through a rigorous review process expected to last for several years, and the facility isn't expected to be operating until 2034. SaskPower will be engaging with RMs and the city on priorities they're looking at those locations.

Two reactors would likely be constructed at the site.

"I think we will walk before we run," said Moe. "We have significant megawatts of coal [power] in this area, we have significant megawatts of transmission capacity in this area, and we're looking to use them."