SaskPower-GEH agreement to advance SMR development

31 January 2024

Canadian Utility SaskPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) have signed an agreement to advance small modular reactor (SMR) development in Saskatchewan. In June 2022, SaskPower selected GEH's BWRX-300 as the technology to be used in its SMR development work.

(Image: GEH)

The new agreement will enable SaskPower and GEH to collaborate on project planning and facilitate the sharing of expertise related to the design, fuel sourcing and fabrication for the BWRX-300 SMR. It will also support workforce and supply chain planning needed for a Saskatchewan-based SMR deployment.

SaskPower said the agreement will streamline its planning and licensing work to inform its decision in 2029 whether to proceed with nuclear power in Saskatchewan.

"Gaining detailed technical specifications, requirements and designs to the BWRX-300 is necessary for our planning work and license applications," said SaskPower President and CEO Rupen Pandya. "Leveraging experience and expertise from our colleagues in the nuclear industry is an important part of our planning work."

"This agreement is another important step in our efforts to support Saskatchewan's workers, businesses and clean energy goals," said GEH Canada Country Leader Lisa McBride. "The BWRX-300 reimagines what is possible when it comes to generating reliable, carbon-free energy."

SaskPower selected GEH's (GEH) BWRX-300 in June 2022 for potential deployment in the province in the mid-2030s after an assessment process in which it looked at several SMR technologies.

The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH's US Nuclear Regulatory Commission-certified ESBWR boiling water reactor design and its existing, licensed GNF2 fuel design, a unique combination that GEH says positions it to deliver an "innovative, carbon-free baseload power generation source" this decade.

Ontario Power Generation has already selected the BWRX-300 for its Darlington New Nuclear Project in Ontario, where Canada's first commercial, grid-scale, SMR could be completed as early as 2028.

SaskPower will not make a decision on whether to build an SMR until 2029, but in the meantime will continue with project development, licensing and regulatory work. In September 2022, the company said it had identified two areas in the province of Saskatchewan - Estevan and Elbow - for further study to determine the feasibility of hosting an SMR.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News