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SaskPower has selected GE-Hitachi’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) for potential deployment in Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s.

It comes following a thorough assessment of several SMR technologies. Several key factors included safety, technology readiness, generation size, fuel type and expected cost of electricity.

The assessment process included close collaboration with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Calian, an independent engineering firm with extensive experience in Canada’s nuclear industry.

SaskPower won’t decide whether to build an SMR until 2029. There is still a lot of work to be done, including years of project development, licensing and regulatory work. SaskPower is currently evaluating regions that could host an SMR and is expected to identify them later in 2022.

In December 2021, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) selected the GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 SMR for the Darlington New Nuclear Project in Ontario. The project is expected to be completed as soon as 2028.

The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation reactor with passive safety systems based off the design and licensing of GE-Hitachi’s NRC-certified ESBWR. GE-Hitachi believes the BWRX-300 can become the lowest-risk, most cost-competitive and quickest SMR to market.

As the tenth evolution of the boiling water reactor (BWR), the company says the BWRX-300 represents the simplest, yet most innovative BWR design since GE began developing nuclear reactors in 1955.

Since December 2019, Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have been working together to advance SMRs in Canada. Alberta joined the collaboration in April 2021. The provinces released a strategic plan for the deployment of SMRs during an announcement in March 2022 that highlighted how SMRs could provide safe and reliable power to meet communities’ growing needs, create good-paying jobs and help provinces meet their environmental goals.

In December 2021, GE Hitachi, BWXT Canada and Synthos Green Energy announced intentions for BWXT Canada to build parts in Ontario for at least 10 SMRs to be deployed in Poland. The agreement represented approximately $1 billion in contracts for BWXT Canada.

In February 2022, the Tennessee Valley Authority also announced plans to advance GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 design at its Clinch River Nuclear Site in Tennessee.

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