Saskatchewan

Green Party leaders urge Sask. government to halt small modular reactor plans

The interim Leader of the Green Party of Canada made a stop in Regina Monday to urge Premier Scott Moe to abandon his plans for small modular reactor (SMR) development.

Provincial government announced plans to develop SMRs in March

An illustration shows a NuScale Power Module on a truck. NuScale is one of the small modular reactor companies whose designs are going through pre-licencing approval with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Many are designed to be small enough to transport by truck or by shipping container. (NuScale Power)

The interim Leader of the Green Party of Canada made a stop in Regina Monday to urge Premier Scott Moe to abandon his plans for small modular reactor (SMR) development.

The province announced in 2019 that it was looking at developing a plan to use SMRs, which produce nuclear power, to lower carbon emissions.

Last month, the province said it had gone ahead with the plan and will be partnering with Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta to develop SMRs, four of which will be in Saskatchewan. 

Amita Kuttner visited Regina Monday alongside Saskatchewan Green Party leader Naomi Hunter. Kuttner said from their short time in Saskatchewan, they see the province has great potential for green energy development.

"It is so obvious to me that community based power and the immediate solutions around renewables is really what we should be doing and not heading down the path of nuclear, which takes too long in a true emergency," they said.

"We see over and over again the supposed climate plans put forward [that] involve solutions that take decades to come to pass when really we have very few years to turn everything around."

Kuttner said more immediate action, such as developing wind, solar and geothermal energy, is needed to achieve net zero emissions.

They said reaching net zeros by 2050 is not enough and that Canada needs to reach negative emissions by that time to reduce the effects of climate change.

SMRs will create jobs, province says

The Government of Saskatchewan said the development of SMRs is not only safe but will use uranium from Saskatchewan, enhance nuclear research while creating jobs in construction and facilities operations.

"This is not how a just transition works," Hunter said. "Oil and gas companies [here] need to be looking like they are through the rest of the world."

She said in Europe, such companies are diversifying and making sure they are proactively protecting their workers during the transition into renewable energy.

Hunter said the proposed nuclear jobs would not transition the way other renewable energy jobs would.

The province's plan says 12,455 jobs would be created during manufacturing and construction, with 1,469 jobs available during operations. It is not specified how many of these jobs would be in Saskatchewan.

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