Reactor requires government support


Bruce Power needs the support of the provincial government if it builds a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan, a company executive said Thursday.

The nuclear power company needs stability through a reactor's life and that requires a "government-backed entity to partner with Bruce Power," said executive vice-president Dwight Millet at a Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday.

"To recoup your investment, you need a counter-party you know will be there," said Millet.

"We are looking for certainty from your government that if we build a plant there will be a market to sell the electricity. A some stage, we need that kind of agreement.

"We're not trying to ram a nuclear power plant down people's throats -- they're really big and won't fit."

Last year, the company released a feasibility study that targeted Saskatchewan as an ideal location for a nuclear reactor, specifically in the north-central region somewhere between Prince Albert and the North Battleford.

Building a two-reactor facility could cost up to $10 billion, according to the Bruce Power report, Saskatchewan 2020.

The agreements will give stability to a project that will span decades and different governments, said Millet.

The province just finished a month of public consultations that gathered input from the government-commissioned Uranium Development Partnership report, which recommended Saskatchewan build a nuclear reactor.

The consultation process, as it has been run, doesn't help investor confidence, said Millet.

"There could be an issue for investors if the public consultations continue as they are," he said. "(The government) needs to make a decision to consult with whoever will build a reactor."

Millet ran through his presentation -- "A nuclear 101 class" -- for chamber members and covered environmental, health and safety issues of reactors.

He criticized a report commissioned by the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses that compiled medical studies and found a increased risk of cancer in nuclear power workers and children living near reactors.

"It's easy to get up and say these things without going into the details," said Millet, adding the report didn't accurately reference the source material.

"We have newer and better studies."

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