Nuke option unplugged in Saskatchewan

REGINA — Saskatchewan has stopped short of giving a green light to a nuclear power plant, but it isn’t putting up a permanent stop sign either.

REGINA — Saskatchewan has stopped short of giving a green light to a nuclear power plant, but it isn’t putting up a permanent stop sign either.

Energy Minister Bill Boyd said Thursday that a proposal from Ontario-based Bruce Power for a large-scale plant in Saskatchewan will not move forward. The government also won’t support a recommendation to speed up plans for nuclear power, said Boyd.

“We are of the view that this is simply not something that meets with the needs of Saskatchewan at this particular time,” Boyd said.

It’s the second time in a week that the contentious issue has come up.

Alberta Energy Minister Mel Knight said Monday that his province will look at proposals for nuclear power plants on a case-by-case basis, but it won’t help to fund them or promise to buy the energy. The announcement capped a lengthy review of whether Alberta should go with nuclear or ban it, as some provinces have done.

Boyd said energy demand going forward to 2020 was one of the key factors in the Saskatchewan decision. SaskPower, the government-owned utility, estimates the province will need about 100 new megawatts of power a year over the coming years.

“Based on SaskPower’s current demand forecast . . . we can not support the addition of 1,000 megawatts as proposed from a single nuclear reactor,” said Boyd. “SaskPower has identified other renewable power options for the medium term which hold great promise and would make it unreasonable to consider a 1,000 megawatt facility coming on stream in the 2019-20 time frame. In addition . . . we have determined that the scale of the project creates real concerns for us around the final cost to consumers.”

Nuclear power would be a “very expensive generation source,” he added.

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