Government of Canada Announces Federal Support for Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Development in Saskatchewan
August 19, 2023 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Natural Resources Canada
To cement Canada’s competitive advantage in the global shift to a net-zero emissions economy and to meet our climate goals, we need to significantly increase the amount of non-emitting energy that we use to power our homes, businesses and industries. New, non-emitting electricity infrastructure projects, including projects powered by next-generation nuclear technologies, such as small modular reactors (SMRs), can play a crucial role in this shift and in delivering economic prosperity to every region of Canada.
The Government of Canada is continuing to support the development and deployment of SMRs, a promising non-emitting form of energy, to help Saskatchewan and other provinces increase their ability to deliver clean, reliable and affordable power to their citizens. To this end, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, was in Saskatoon today to announce that the Government of Canada has approved up to $74 million in federal funding for SMR development in Saskatchewan, led by SaskPower. This funding will support pre-engineering work and technical studies, environmental assessments, regulatory studies and community and Indigenous engagement to help advance this important project. SaskPower has selected the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 for potential deployment in Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s, subject to a decision to build that is expected in 2029.
SMRs, a non-emitting form of energy, can play an important role in decarbonizing provincial electricity grids and heavy-emitting industries and can help remote communities reduce their reliance on costly and high-polluting diesel power. As an example, a 300-megawatt SMR can supply enough non-emitting power for an estimated 300,000 homes.
With over 75,000 hard-working Canadians employed across its supply chain and decades of experience in this area, Canada’s nuclear industry is well positioned to leverage its science and technology innovation to continue to be among the leaders in the development and deployment of SMR technology.
Advancing new non-emitting electricity infrastructure projects is part of the government’s comprehensive approach to bringing clean, affordable and reliable power to every region of Canada, as outlined in Powering Canada Forward and in the draft Clean Electricity Regulations. The Government of Canada has committed over $40 billion in new federal measures to help provinces and has announced over $500 million to date in support of a variety of projects that are helping to build a clean, affordable and reliable grid in Saskatchewan specifically.
The shift to a non-emitting, affordable and reliable electricity grid across Canada by 2035 is a nation-building project that requires significant investments, thoughtful regulations and our fullest collaboration. Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to achieving a clean electricity system for the benefit of all Canadians. With a thoughtful, comprehensive and collaborative approach, we can ensure that every region of Canada thrives in the global race to fight climate change and seizes the economic opportunities of a low-carbon future.
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“Delivering clean, reliable and affordable electricity will look different in every region of Canada. That is why the Government of Canada is committing up to $74 million to explore the potential for small modular reactors in Saskatchewan to provide abundant non-emitting power, drive economic growth and create good jobs throughout Saskatchewan. With today’s announcement, we are investing in the future of nuclear technology, building on Canada’s decades-long legacy as a responsible global leader in nuclear power, and leveraging Saskatchewan’s world-leading production of uranium to position the province to thrive in a rapidly decarbonizing global economy.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
“Saskatchewan has a significant competitive advantage with an abundance of natural resources to be a leader in the development of clean, affordable and reliable electricity grid. Building a clean electricity grid in Saskatchewan is good for the economy, good for communities and good for the planet. The project announced today is yet another example of how our two levels of government can work together to finance the clean energy projects needed to power Saskatchewan’s thriving economy.”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The approved funding of $74 million serves as a strong indication from the government that Canada is at the forefront of global innovation and implementation of small modular reactors (SMRs). Saskatchewan's SMR program will provide reliable, low-carbon baseload energy to meet increasing electricity needs, supply clean power to its resource extraction industry and fuel the province's economic growth. This is exciting news for the residents of Saskatchewan, including its Indigenous communities, who have supported the province's SMR development.”
President and CEO, Canadian Nuclear Association
“GE Hitachi is excited to work with Saskatchewan to be a global leader in the deployment of small modular reactors. Our technology is designed to provide reliable, cost-effective and emissions-free baseload electricity generation for the people of Saskatchewan for decades to come.”
Country Leader, GEH SMR Canada
Up to $50 million for this project has been committed to SaskPower from NRCan’s Electricity Predevelopment Program — a $250-million program to support pre-development activities of clean electricity projects of national significance, such as inter-provincial electricity transmission projects and small modular reactors. These kinds of projects will be critical for supporting economic development through investments in new infrastructure and the enhanced security and reliability of our clean energy supply. The funding announced today is conditional on the finalization of a Contribution Agreement between NRCan and SaskPower, which is currently underway.
Additionally, over $24 million for this project has been committed to the Government of Saskatchewan from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s (ECCC) Future Electricity Fund. This program returns pollution pricing proceeds to support clean energy projects, energy-efficient technologies and other initiatives that will help Canada meet its climate goals and achieve a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050. The fund is intended to help spur innovation and encourage the adoption of cleaner technologies and fuels in Canada — including Saskatchewan’s small modular reactor project.
In addition to reducing greenhouse gases, moving to a clean grid will deliver health benefits to Canadians by reducing the air pollutants that result from the burning of natural gas and coal, such as nitrogen and sulfur oxides, particulate matter and mercury. Air pollution is a major contributor to disease and premature death both in Canada and globally. Health Canada estimated that in 2015, air pollution from electricity-generating units contributed to about 150 premature deaths per year in Canada, as well as many non-fatal negative health outcomes, with a total cost of $1.2 billion per year (2015 constant dollars).
SaskPower anticipates construction of its first SMR could begin as early as 2030, with a targeted in-service date of 2034. Additional facilities could begin construction as early as 2034.
In 2020, SaskPower and Ontario Power Generation commissioned the Conference Board of Canada to study the potential economic opportunity and job creation related to the development of SMRs in both provinces. The study projects that from 1,200 MW of nuclear power being developed in Saskatchewan, approximately 1,700 new direct and indirect jobs would be created in Saskatchewan during the
The study also estimates an increase of $8.8 billion in gross domestic product, $5.6 billion in wages and $2.9 billion in tax revenue (over the 60-year lifespan of the facilities).
Other recent federal investments in Saskatchewan’s electricity sector include:
-- In April 2022, $300 million of federal clean energy funding was directed to the Wah-ila-toos partnership for clean energy projects in Indigenous, rural and remote communities in Canada.
-- In July 2022, the Government of Canada invested almost $10 million in clean energy support for Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan.
-- In May 2023, through the Future Electricity Fund, the Government of Canada announced the return of $174 million in pollution pricing proceeds to Saskatchewan for non-emitting electricity projects, including the implementation of new residential smart meters, improvements to rural electricity distribution systems and the refurbishment of the E.B. Campbell Hydroelectric Station.
-- In June 2023, The Government of Canada announced a $50-million investment to the Bekevar Wind Power Project in partnership with the Cowessess First Nation.
-- The Government of Canada also recently announced over $7 million in investments to Indigenous clean energy projects in Saskatchewan through the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways program.
-- The Government of Canada invested $18.5 million in the Indigenous-led Awasis Solar Project, a 10-MW solar power generation project to be built on Cowessess First Nations land.
-- The Government of Canada has invested over $21.6 million in funding to 14 Indigenous communities to help implement clean energy projects with one of these communities located in Saskatchewan.
Today’s announcement took place at the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan. The Centre was established in 2011 to help place Saskatchewan among global leaders of nuclear research, development and training and is a participant in Canada’s SMR Action Plan.
- Powering Canada Forward: A vision for a clean, affordable, and reliable electricity system for every region of Canada
- Saskatchewan: Clean electricity snapshot
- SMR Action Plan
- Output-Based Pricing System Proceeds Fund
- Carbon Pollution Pricing Proceeds Programming and Use of Proceeds
- How Carbon Pricing Works
- How the Price on Pollution Works for Industry
Natural Resources Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
Follow us on Twitter: @NRCan (http://twitter.com/nrcan)
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