Saskatchewan government announces microreactor funding

27 November 2023

The province is providing CAD80 million (USD59 million) for the Saskatchewan Research Council to pursue the demonstration of a microreactor in Saskatchewan, with plans for a Westinghouse-designed eVinci micoreactor to be operational in the province from 2029.

Westinghouse's eVinci - the so-called nuclear battery - is described as a 'perfect fit' for Saskatchewan (Image: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse and the SRC last year signed a memorandum of understanding on a project to locate an eVinci microreactor - a heatpipe reactor that can produce 5 MW of electricity and 13 MW of high-temperature heat, and can operate in combined heat and power mode - in Saskatchewan. The knowledge gained from licensing and deploying an initial microreactor will be leveraged to support potential for future microreactor projects in the province, the provincial government said in its announcement on Monday.

"This project has the opportunity to be transformative for our economy, industry and communities," Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said as he announced the funding. "Microreactors provide a custom solution for Saskatchewan's unique energy needs."

Westinghouse last year initiated a pre-licensing vendor review of the eVinci reactor with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The review is an optional service provided by the Canadian nuclear regulator which aims to verify the acceptability of a design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations. Westinghouse CEO Patrick Fragman said the fully transportable eVinci nuclear battery technology was the perfect fit for Saskatchewan. "It also provides carbon-free electricity and heat, uses no water, and can be completely removed from site after operating continuously for eight years or more," he added.

Minister Responsible for SRC, Jeremy Harrison, said the first microreactor would open the door for future deployments across Saskatchewan. "These deployments will create economic development opportunities and jobs," he added.

Saskatchewan is home to the largest and highest-grade uranium mines in the world, but does not currently have any nuclear power reactors. It is working alongside the provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta on the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) under a joint strategic plan released in 2022: provincial utility SaskPower is working to identify suitable sites for the deployment of SMRs in the mid-2030s.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News