Saskatchewan considers its nuclear options

21 October 2008

An expert panel is to advise the government of Saskatchewan on developing its nuclear industry. The Canadian province is already a leading exporter of uranium.


The panel, called the Uranium Development Partnership, was announced yesterday by provincial ministers Lyle Stewart and Ken Cheveldayoff on for the ministries of Enterprise and Innovation and Crown Corporations respectively. The Crown Investments Corporation is putting C$3 million ($2.4 million) behind the panel.


By 31 March 2009 the group is to report to the Saskatchewanian government, making recommendations on "value-added opportunities in the uranium industry."


Zircatec (Cameco)
Zircatec manufactures reactor fuel in Ontario. What could
Saskatchewan do in addition to mine uranium? (Image: Cameco)

This would mean explaining the options available to the province to develop its uranium industry beyond the current mining and milling of uranium to produce yellowcake for use in nuclear fuel. Further stages in the nuclear fuel cycle such as conversion and enrichment would be possibilities, as would the manufacture of finished reactor fuel and even the use of nuclear power plants.


The report is to include details of the investment, legislative and regulatory conditions required for nuclear development as well as timelines for putting enabling measures in place.


"The expansion of the nuclear industry around the world offers an opportunity for Saskatchewan to add value to our raw uranium resources, grow our economy, create jobs and contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions," said Stewart.




The Uranium Development Partnership is composed of 12 figures with experience in the uranium and nuclear power business as well as community representatives. It is chaired by Richard Florizone, vice president of finance and resources at the University of Saskatchewan, who holds a doctorate in nuclear physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Notable nuclear industry representatives on the panel are Jerry Grandey, CEO of uranium miner Cameco with major interests in Saskatchewan; Duncan Hawthorne, President and CEO of Bruce Power, which is already studying the feasibility of nuclear power plants in the province; and Armand Laferre, president and CEO of Areva Canada.


Also among the 12 are Alex Pourbaix, president of energy at Trans Canada; Keith Brown of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce; Neil Collins, formerly of SaskPower and now with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; Ray Ahenakew, president of Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology and former CEO of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council; and Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace.


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