Small reactors could be

SaskPower has no plans to build a nuclear power plant within the next decade, but small modular reactors (SMRs) could be a for the province in the long term, according to the Crown corporation vice president of transmission.

is) something we looking at, Tim Eckel said in an address to the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting, held Thursday morning in Saskatoon.

Traditional nuclear power plants have a generating capacity of at least 600 megawatts (MW), which makes them unsuitable for Saskatchewan comparatively small electric grid, which currently has a maximum capacity of 4,400 MW, Eckel said.

If a nuclear plant responsible for producing a sizable portion of the province power went off line, the demand for electricity could suddenly outstrip supply, leading to problems, he said.

plants) are too large for our system. SMRs with a generating capacity of between 300 and 400 MW slightly smaller than SaskPower big coal and natural gas fired plants would likely make sense in Saskatchewan, Eckel added.

In a 2008 feasibility study, Bruce Power Limited Partnership, which operates a nuclear plant northwest of Toronto, said Saskatchewan will likely require at least 1,000 MW of nuclear generation capacity by 2020.

A plant north of Saskatoon would likely cost between $8 and $10 billion, but contribute $240 million annually to the provincial economy and create 1,000 permanent jobs over its 60 year lifespan, the study said.

A 2014 study conducted at the University of Saskatchewan found that 50.3 per cent of cheap jerseys Saskatchewan residents had a positive impression of nuclear power generation, while 22.9 per cent had a negative impression and 18.5 per cent reported no opinion on the subject.

Currently, about 25 per cent of the province power comes from clean sources. SaskPower said late last year that it plans to double that figure by 2030 using a mix of wind, solar and hydroelectric sources, while boosting its total capacity to about 7,000 MW.

build a nuclear plant would take likely a decade That alone would push it more than a decade away (and) the technology for SaskPower isn in place yet, Eckel said.

In its simplest form, a nuclear power plant works by using the nuclear reaction in its core to heat a closed loop of pressurized coolant. The coolant usually water produces steam, which drives a turbine that produces electricity.

Several companies in the United States, China and other countries are developing SMRs. Some use molten metal or salt as coolant, but most are scaled down versions of conventional pressurized water plants.

While multiple countries have operating small nuclear reactors, the most advanced modular designs are under development in China with startup expected in 2017, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Although SMRs have a lengthy development cycle, they also have considerable advantages over large plants used to power dense population centres, according to the executive director of the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation.

key thing about these new units is they will have this high degree of modularity, which allows them to better fit from that economics (point of view), Neil Alexander said.

Whereas most major nuclear plants are one offs, factory built reactors benefit from economies of scale and repetition, leading to reduced costs, Alexander said. The introduction of carbon pricing would likely make the plants even more attractive, he added. Alexander said he thinks it unlikely the province will continue building new fossil fuel plants, so need to find alternatives. opportunity for these small modular reactors is the 300 MW plant that would replace our existing coal fired plants and go onto the grid as a relatively cheap replacement to coal that is non greenhouse gas emitting, he said.

other is that the much smaller plants could be pretty much off grid applications, serving a particular site or a community. power comes with challenges including decommissioning, the management of spent fuel and the comparatively high capital costs, as well as the risk of a major accident, according to Peter Prebble, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society environmental policy director.

While nuclear power is cleaner than the coal and gas fired plants currently operating in Saskatchewan, it is a non renewable resource and therefore incompatible with the future being built around the world, Prebble said. epaper, Digital Access, Subscriber Rewards), please input your Print Newspaper subscription phone number and postal code.

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