Canadian Provinces Join Forces on Nuclear

Credit: NexGen Energy

The Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan have individually explored nuclear power generation. Now, they plan to pool their resources in the name of clean energy production and decarbonization.

Last week, the provincial governments signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate and share information as they build out nuclear power generation capacity.

The resources at hand: Canada is the world’s second-largest producer of uranium ore after Kazakhstan—and all five of its working uranium mines are located in northern Saskatchewan. Despite its abundance of raw (though, importantly, unprocessed) material for powering nuclear reactors, Saskatchewan does not have any nuclear reactors of its own.

  • Alberta, on the other hand, has neither uranium mines nor nuclear reactors.

Both provinces have invested in exploring nuclear reactor deployment in the past year as the need for decarbonization has increased:

  • Saskatchewan announced last year that it would invest $80M CAD ($58.5M) into a microreactor development project through the Saskatchewan Research Council.
  • Alberta is funding $7M CAD ($5.1M) to explore SMR deployment for oil sands operations.

Friends for life: This isn’t the first partnership between the Canadian provinces to build out nuclear capacity. Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick signed an MoU in 2019 to advance SMR tech, with Alberta joining the party in 2021.

“Our provinces are leading the world in responsible energy development, and we look forward to learning from Saskatchewan’s experience with nuclear generation,” Alberta Affordability and Utilities Minister Nathan Neudorf said in a release.

What’s next? The two provinces are expanding their partnership to look into workforce development, fuel pipeline security, and decarbonization expectations for new reactor development.

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