SMRs: (2015) SK continues to look at nuclear power

SMRs: (2015) SK continues to look at nuclear power

Postby Oscar » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:56 pm

Saskatchewan continues to look at nuclear power

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Emma Graney, Regina Leader-Post 11.10.2015 | ​

SaskPower hasn’t ruled out a nuclear powered Saskatchewan, even if it’s not in the Crown corporation’s immediate plans.

President Mike Marsh says SaskPower is looking at nuclear “through a technology lens right now,” to figure out if it can fit reliably into Saskatchewan’s electricity supply system.

Marsh is well aware nuclear power is, politically speaking, a controversial topic.

The province has been going through the nuclear debate “off and on for the past 20 years,” he says, and it’s “not a political debate (SaskPower is) going to get into.”

Take 2009, in which a government-appointed panel recommended the province pursue nuclear power. Later that same year, the Perrins Report based on public consultations found “significant opposition to nuclear power generation” in Saskatchewan. Then, in December 2009, the government announced it would not pursue a plan to have a nuclear power plant up and running in the province by 2020.

Premier Brad Wall also talked nuclear in November 2012, particularly small modular reactors, which he noted could have “potential applications” in small communities.

The public might have concerns about nuclear energy, but it has never been ruled out as an option for the Saskatchewan.

A summer 2013 briefing note from SaskPower, for instance, notes that the small reactors provide “a flexible, cost-effective alternative to larger-scale nuclear reactors.”

“As directed by the provincial government,” it reads, “SaskPower is evaluating the potential for nuclear power” from those small modular reactors.

Marsh says it’s important for SaskPower to “keep abreast of the technology.”

After all, “Maybe next year there’s going to be a huge breakthrough in the technology that the world will rally around, and if we weren’t looking at it, we’d be accused of having our head in the sand.”

To his knowledge, small modular reactors “still haven’t been commercially developed or deployed,” and SaskPower is “nowhere near” using such technology unless it’s “proven.”

“We’ve done a lot of firsts in Saskatchewan — certainly our carbon capture facility was a first — but I do not believe we’d be anywhere close to making any kind of decision on nuclear if it were to be the first of its kind,” he said.

Environment critic Cathy Sproule says she wouldn’t be surprised if SaskPower is looking into the technology, but the expense of a nuclear project, and the environmental issues, are concerning.

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ARTICLE WRITTEN BY DALE DEWAR FOR THE WYNYARD ADVANCE IN 2015 . . . . Date of publication has been requested . . . .

Would you buy a car that has no track record and is made by a company that has never delivered either on time or within budget? Brad Wall is interested in spending tax dollars on Small Modular Reactors.

Small Modular Reactors (SMR) are not reality. “Small” refers to the amount of power generated, not the size of the reactor. “Modular” means that the reactor is assembled from factory-fabricated parts or “modules” which are assembled on site.

World Nuclear Association's web site seems to imply that the science is sound and – but, “in January 2014, Westinghouse announced that it was suspending could not justify the economics of its SMR without government subsidies.”

Problems are multitude. They need water for coolant, lots of it. They release the heated water back into rivers or lakes. They must have a minimum base load electricity demand to work – they don't power up or down in response to needs. The accident record is a meltdown every seven years. There is no waste management. Every nuclear power plant requires security, high security. Of all the means by which electricity can be produced, nuclear power is the most expensive.

Is nuclear power green? When all of the input, after-put and waste management is taken into account, nuclear power is decidedly not “green”. Does it have less impact upon the environment than dirty coal? The people around Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island don't think so.

Premier Brad Wall in Saskatchewan has been sold a bill of goods -

- by Dale Dewar Wynyard Advance 2015
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