Opinion: Small modular reactors would be a worthy investment for Sask. – by Sarath Peiris (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 27, 2019)


Premier Scott Moe is taking a page from his predecessor Brad Wall’s book and proposing nuclear power as part of Saskatchewan’s base load energy mix — a welcome departure from his ranting against the federal carbon tax even as his government delays action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Moe is pondering the adoption of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which can be designed to generate as little as three megawatts of electricity or as much as 300 MW — approximately the capacity of the Shand coal-fired power station — whereas a conventional reactor produces 1,000 MW to 1,600 MW.

With one-third of SaskPower’s electricity generated via three coal-fired plants that burn low-heat lignite coal — an engineer at the utility once described the fuel as “only a little better than burning dirt” — and another 40 per cent produced from burning natural gas, Saskatchewan certainly can benefit from an alternative power source that is GHG-free.

SaskPower’s foray into carbon capture and storage technology has been a costly and not-so-perfect experiment that the utility doesn’t seem eager to repeat soon.

SMRs are designed to be inherently safe, and have passive safety systems that shut down the reactors if they aren’t actively managed. These units will be manufactured in factories to ensure consistent quality, with the cost per unit decreasing with the number produced, and require a much smaller initial capital outlay than large reactors.

For the rest of this column: https://thestarphoenix.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-small-modular-reactors-would-be-a-worthy-investment-for-sask