A lot goes into choosing a site for a potential Small Modular Reactor (SMR) in Saskatchewan. While a decision to build a SMR won’t be made until 2029, we need to find a potential facility location now to keep it as an option for the future.
To start the siting process, we looked at regions across the province that could meet the requirements for the technology we selected. We considered factors like a region’s proximity to:
- existing power infrastructure
- emergency services
- access to a workforce
Based on these factors, in 2022, we selected 2 study regions to further evaluate – 1 near Estevan and 1 near Elbow.
Narrowing the Study Regions
After we chose the 2 study regions, we began to narrow in on specific areas within them that could work best for a potential SMR. That included a:
- Suitability Analysis
- Water Intake Study
- Regional Evaluation Process
Learn more about each below.
We identified areas of high and low suitability using over 50 criteria, grouped into 3 themes:
Land closer to water, transmission lines, highways, or larger communities is more suitable. Land near critical habitat, historic sites, or on unstable ground is less suitable.
Take a deeper dive on the criteria and how it was used to help identify suitable land, by reviewing the Siting Indicator Workbooks:
Water Intake Study
We identified the best stretches of shoreline to access water. Access to a body of water is a key consideration for siting an SMR and is needed for our chosen technology.
Regional Evaluation Process (REP)
We introduced a REP that helped improve our siting criteria and suitability analysis.
The process involved 4 committee workshops in each region. The committees had representatives from regional Indigenous groups, organizations, and stakeholders. It was a valuable way to engage with groups in each region on the siting process, and other aspects of the project.
All the REP materials are available to the public. You can read the REP Report, access documents and learn about the whole process at Regional Evaluation Process.
Tying it Together
To capture the combined results of the Suitability Analysis, Water Intake Study and REP, we created suitability maps and updated them along the way. The results of the Suitability Analysis are shaded in green and white. The darker the green, the more suitable the land. Areas in white are less suitable or not suitable at all. The black circles mark the findings from our Water Intake Study and identify areas where we could gain access to water.
Selecting the Site
Right now, we’re looking for half sections of land for a site. We’ll focus on sites with higher suitability and near the best shorelines for access to water. Our goal is to have 2 potential sites chosen by the end of 2023.
As we continue to narrow down options, there are still many factors to consider. We want to know what matters most to you as we compare different site options. Learn more and share your priorities at saskpower.com/engage.