Utility signs deal with OPG on advancement of reactor programme
Canadian utility SaskPower is aiming to deploy small modular reactors (SMRs) in the province of Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s, aided by a cooperation agreement with nuclear operator Ontario Power Generation (OPG).
SaskPower has agreed to work with OPG and its subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners on the advancement of its SMR programme.
SaskPower has already chosen the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 SMR for potential deployment in Saskatchewan, subject to a decision to build that expected in 2029.
The same technology is to be deployed by OPG at its Darlington nuclear power station in Ontario by the end of the decade.
OPG said in a statement that under the new agreement, Laurentis Energy Partners will focus on programme management, licensing and operational readiness activities related to the Saskatchewan SMR project. The agreement will be valid for five years.
An earlier agreement between OPG and SaskPower relates to the exchange of lessons learned, technical resources, expertise, best practices, and operating experience.
The two companies would also consider opportunities for collaboration in other areas, including project development and plant operation, the statement said.
“Through these agreements, we are using a fleet-style approach, which will increase efficiency and decrease costs as we deploy much-needed new nuclear generation in both provinces,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG president and chief executive.
Todd Smith, Ontario’s energy minister, said Ontario is ready to support partners in Canada, like Saskatchewan, and around the world. “The world is watching Ontario as we deploy the world’s first grid-scale SMR to power our province’s growth.”
In August 2023, Canada approved up to CAD74m (€50m, $54m) in federal funding for SMR development in Saskatchewan.
The money would go for pre-engineering work, technical studies, environmental assessments, regulatory studies and community engagement to help SaskPower move its SMR plans forward.
In September 2022, SaskPower said it had chosen two sites in Saskatchewan for the potential construction of an SMR. The company said an area will be selected by 2023, with a specific site chosen by 2024.