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Alberta, Saskatchewan to cooperate on nuclear energy

03 May 2024

The governments of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan have signed a memorandum of understanding to advance the development of nuclear power generation in support of both provinces’ need for affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity grids by 2050.

(Image: Pixabay)

The MoU will support collaboration and information sharing on key areas of nuclear power generation, including nuclear supply chains and workforce development, the security of supply of fuels, and the development and regulation of nuclear reactor technologies, including small modular reactors (SMRs). The provinces will also work to advance industrial decarbonisation and enhance grid capabilities.

In 2019, the provinces of Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick signed an MoU to advance SMRs in Canada, with Alberta formally joining the MoU in 2021. The Interprovincial Strategic Plan for the Development of Small Modular Reactors, developed by the four provinces, was released in March 2022.

The new, bilateral MoU between Saskatchewan and Alberta has additional areas of interest such as industrial decarbonisation and grid reliability.

“Saskatchewan has a long-standing cooperative relationship with Alberta on energy development, and we share similar challenges and opportunities related to decarbonisation,” Crown Investments Corporation Minister Dustin Duncan said. “I look forward to continued collaboration with the Government of Alberta on meeting the power needs of our provinces, while growing our economies and introducing new nuclear industries.”

“Alberta is proud to partner with Saskatchewan on further exploring how we can ensure our power grids are affordable, reliable, and sustainable,” said Alberta Affordability and Utilities Minister Nathan Neudorf. “Our provinces are leading the world in responsible energy development, and we look forward to learning from Saskatchewan’s experience with nuclear generation.”

Saskatchewan is home to the largest and highest-grade uranium mines in the world, but does not currently have any nuclear power reactors. The province announced in November that it is providing CAD80 million (USD59 million) for the Saskatchewan Research Council to pursue the demonstration of a microreactor in Saskatchewan, with plans for a Westinghouse-designed eVinci micoreactor to be operational in the province from 2029.

Last year, Alberta announced a CAD7 million investment in a multi-year study of the deployment of SMRs for the province’s oil sands operations. At that time, Alberta Minister of Energy and Minerals Brian Jean said SMRs “are a critical component of the clean power generation supply mix and hold promise for the oil sands”.

In January, an agreement was signed between North American power producer Capital Power Corporation and Ontario Power Generation that will see the two companies work together to examine the feasibility of developing grid-scale SMRs in Alberta, including possible ownership and operating structures. The feasibility assessment will be completed within two years.

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