Saskatchewan’s Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) is providing CAD479,000 ($352,296) to the Saskatchewan Industrial & Mining Suppliers Association (SIMSA) and its partners to prepare local companies for participation in Canadian provincial, national and global small modular reactor (SMR) development. SIMSA, is a non-profit organisation representing more than 300 Saskatchewan-based suppliers to the industrial, mining and energy sectors.

Earlier in August, Canada’s Minister of Energy & Natural Resources, Jonathan Wilkinson, during a visit to Saskatoon, announced that the Government had approved up to CAD74m in federal funding for SMR development in Saskatchewan, led by SaskPower. Although all of Canada's uranium production comes from Saskatchewan, the province has no nuclear power. However, in its 2019 development roadmap, Saskatchewan's government identified SMR development as a goal for growth. In March 2022, together with the governments of Ontario, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Alberta, it released a joint strategic plan setting out a path for developing and deploying SMRs.

In June 2022, SaskPower selected the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 SMR as the preferred technology for initial grid-scale deployment in Saskatchewan. The previous December, Ontario Power Generation had selected the BWRX-300 for their Darlington New Nuclear Project. 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 ESBWR, which has US Nuclear Regulatory Commission certification.

The two-year funding agreement between CIC and SIMSA will support an SMR supply chain specialist position with SIMSA. IT will also help engage First Nations Power Authority (FNPA) for its assistance to explore Indigenous economic opportunities and enable the Organisation of Canadian Nuclear Industries (OCNI) to deliver its Ready4SMR programme to develop local suppliers, including Indigenous-owned companies. OCNI is an association of more than 200 leading suppliers of the nuclear industry in Canada and the international marketplace. OCNI President & CEO Bill Walker said OCNI’s role “is to build a pan-Canadian supply chain that gives provinces like Saskatchewan an opportunity for economic development”.

Minister of Crown Investments Corporation Don Morgan said: "Programming and resources made available through this funding are crucial to moving toward building a nuclear industry in Saskatchewan…. Advancing Saskatchewan's SMR supply chains will unlock economic and job potential for communities near and far, including our rural, northern and remote regions, and Indigenous communities."

Eric Anderson, Executive Director of SIMSA said. "One crucial component of this work is the recruitment of an SMR supply chain specialist. The specialist has outstanding nuclear and supply chain experience and knows the current market elements. This position will be an invaluable asset to advance SMR development in Saskatchewan."

Image: Rendering of a GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 small nuclear reactor

Date: Thursday, 31 August 2023
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