Site for First Potential Small Modular Reactor Facility Narrowed to Estevan Region

June 4, 2024

Today marks another significant milestone for SaskPower’s small modular reactor (SMR) project. They have narrowed their search for a potential site down to 2 near the City of Estevan — 1 at Boundary Dam and the other on the Rafferty Reservoir. After more detailed investigation, final site selection will be made in early 2025. 

“In addition to the technical suitability of the sites, the Estevan region offers many benefits, including proximity to the City of Estevan to access existing services, a skilled workforce, accommodations and emergency services, as well as infrastructure, roads and transmission,” said Rupen Pandya, President and CEO. “Selecting a site for the first SMR facility will allow us to proceed with the many regulatory processes which are site-specific and critical to the project moving forward.” 

The Elbow region remains an attractive option for the development of nuclear power. SaskPower will continue to seek land options and work with Rightsholder and communities in the area even while narrowing our focus on the Estevan sites.

SaskPower been engaging with Rightsholder, municipal leaders and community members in the Estevan and Elbow regions for some time. In December 2023, they started discussions with landowners to secure land options on 2 quarter-sections of land (320 acres) to host a facility that could house up to 2 GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 reactors, as well as the cooling water infrastructure. Options have been secured for the Rafferty and Boundary sites in the Estevan region. 

Next Steps

There are several years of project development, licensing and regulatory work required to support SaskPower’s final investment decision in 2029. They’re preparing to submit the Initial Project Description to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada in early 2025. This submission will formally start the Impact Assessment process to obtain 3 licences:

  • a licence to prepare a site
  • a construction licence
  • an operating licence

Once a decision to proceed has been approved, SaskPower intend to build the first 315-megawatt reactor by 2034, with another to potentially follow shortly after at the same facility. With these approvals in place, construction of the first SMR will begin in 2030 and is expected to be complete in 2034. 

SaskPower will also continue to study the role nuclear power may play beyond this initial investment as we continue to work towards net-zero green house gas emissions by 2050. 


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