Jul 082012


Premier Brad Wall said Thursday he envisions an ambitious project involving the federal government, SaskPower and one of the uranium companies located in the province that would see Saskatchewan playing a lead role in the research and development of nuclear power.

By The Leader-Post (Regina)  March 28, 2008

Speaking to reporters, Wall said he had a lengthy discussion with Stephen Harper when the prime minister was in Saskatchewan this week about a federal investment in the province involving the nuclear industry.

The premier said it’s linked to the Conservative government’s recent budget commitment of $300 million to the federal Crown Corporation Atomic Energy Canada Ltd., in part for its development of the next generation Canadian nuclear reactor.

“What we’ve simply said to the federal government is that if they’re looking to develop a new generation of reactor technology and are prepared to invest in that as a federal government, perhaps there is a P3 (public-private partnership) opportunity here between two levels of government. We have a Crown-owned electrical utility, the federal government and uranium companies that might be interested that are located here,” said Wall.

“Our point is, let’s lead in this area. We have the uranium, we’re the Saudi Arabia of uranium and all we do is mine it. It’s time for that to stop. It’s time for us to take some advantage of the science and value-add opportunities around the uranium value-added chain.”

Wall said he saw great potential in the fact that Saskatoon has the head office of Cameco and the Canadian head office of French company Areva, two of the world’s major uranium companies.

But how a potential partnership involving the federal and provincial governments, their respective Crown corporations and private sector companies would work is unclear.

Areva, which as a developer of reactors is a competitor with AECL, declined to comment Thursday.

Cameco spokesman Lyle Krahn said the company is expanding its operations in uranium refining and enrichment.

However, the company’s involvement with nuclear generation is through Bruce Power, a consortium in which it is a partner. Bruce Power uses AECL’s Candu technology for its reactors.

“The premier is certainly supportive of our industry and he’s looking for opportunities,” said Krahn when told of Wall’s comments.

“From our perspective … we would use Bruce Power as the vehicle for investment in nuclear power generation in Canada.”

The Saskatchewan Party has expressed openness toward nuclear power but has said major studies need to be done to determine whether it is even viable for the province given the massive scale of a nuclear plant.

© (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

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