SaskPower announced Tuesday that the areas of Estevan and Elbow will be used to gauge the feasibility of a small modular reactor.

The Crown corporation said in a release that it is evaluating a diverse range of power-generation options to ensure reliable and sustainable power.

One of those is nuclear power from small modular reactors (SMRs).

"As part of SaskPower’s planning and regulatory work to potentially develop nuclear power in Saskatchewan, the utility has identified the Estevan and Elbow areas for further study to determine the feasibility of hosting an SMR."

A final decision on whether to proceed with an SMR won't be made until 2029, according to SaskPower.

The location of study around Estevan includes the Boundary Dam and Rafferty Dam areas, and the area around Grant Devine Dam.

map of SMR Estevan
Photo courtesy of SaskPower

"To identify these study areas, SaskPower used technical criteria based on the requirements of the various SMR technologies the utility evaluated earlier this year," read the release. "Some of these criteria include proximity to a suitable water supply, existing power infrastructure, workforce, nuclear regulations and standards, and learnings from past generation siting projects."

"By identifying these two study areas, SaskPower has reached another critical milestone in its planning work to potentially bring nuclear power to Saskatchewan," said the Minister Responsible for SaskPower Don Morgan. "Saskatchewan’s commitment to a sustainable, reliable, and affordable electrical system is evident with today’s announcement.”

SaskPower said it has begun formal consultations on site selection with Indigenous Rightsholders in the selected areas. The utility will also be engaging with rural and urban municipalities, businesses, residents, and other stakeholders in the areas and across the province.

"Feedback and perspectives from not just the regions but from the entire province are very important to SaskPower as we plan to potentially incorporate nuclear power into the generation mix,” said Rupen Pandya, president and CEO at SaskPower. "Engagement and consultation with Indigenous Rightsholders and the public is critical to this project, and I encourage the people of Saskatchewan to reach out and engage with us on this important project."