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Sask. Greens want Saskatchewan to abandon its nuclear plan 

Sask. Greens want Saskatchewan to abandon its nuclear plan 

Provincial Green Party Leader stands outside the Legislative Building for a photo in 2019.

Naomi Hunter, leader of the Provincial Green Party, says that solar and wind power are already available.

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Naomi Hunter, the provincial leader of the Green Party, called for the government to scrap her small modular nuclear reactor (SMR), and instead replace it with something she believes is better.

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With solar and wind energy already available, Hunter told reporters on Monday the province’s plan for SMRs is costly and would take too long to develop.

“They claim that this is because they suddenly care about the climate crisis and are looking for solutions,” Hunter said of the provincial government. “If that was the case, we would be installing immediate solutions of green energy: solar, wind, geothermal.

“This province has the best solar gain in all of Canada and we have some of the best opportunities for wind energy.”

The province created a plan to build SMRs by March 31st. The plan could see the first reactor operating by 2034. It could cost as much as $5B.

SMRs are smaller than traditional power plants and can therefore be deployed and scaled up more quickly.

The province characterized the plan as one that addresses climate changes while also growing the economy.

It has also argued SMRs provide base load energy for the electricity grid, which helps ensure there’s a stable supply of power should solar or wind not generate enough power.

Minister and Minister Responsible for SaskPower Don Morgan, Minister of Energy in Ontario, Todd Smith and Minister of Energy, Alberta, Sonya Savage speak at a news conference in March to launch the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Strategic Plan.
Minister and Minister Responsible For SaskPower Don Morgan, Todd Smith, Minister of Energy in Ontario and Sonya Savage, Minister of Energy, Alberta speak at a March news conference to launch the Small Modular Reactor Strategic Plan. Photo by KAYLE NUIS /Regina Leader-Post

Amita Kuttner, Federal interim Green Party Leader, stated that base load power can also be obtained from other sources like geothermal.

Kuttner mentioned that battery storage can also be used to create a base.

“There are other ways to cover down the road, and there are absolutely places,” they said.

Hunter stated that establishing SMRs would be a complex process and would require more time to offset the emissions once a plant has been operational.

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She also expressed concern about micro-SMRs being used within remote communities, and how they will monitored if there is a safety problem.

“We do not have the time for fairy tales that take us far into the future,” she said. “We don’t have 10 years to come up with a solution. (Premier). Scott Moe, the Sask. Party, they’re just kicking the climate crisis down the road like they always do.”

According to the province’s statement, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulates this industry. It claims that this body ensures high safety. Ontario has used nuclear power since 1970.

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“I think it’s absolutely critical that people feel comfortable with the process, and I think that’s part of the public engagement,” said Don Morgan, the minister responsible for SaskPower, in late March.

The regulator is looking into storing the waste at one or two locations in Ontario.

Although the province has not yet determined the location of a new reactor, it plans to select a site by 2023.

Kuttner suggested that Saskatchewan could encourage the development of smaller electric grids managed by communities. These community grids could be used in conjunction with SaskPower, they said.

“As communities, when we get together and take that step of caring and take that step of building what we actually want to see, we actually get what we want,” Kuttner said.

jsimes@postmedia.com 

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