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Tuesday, October 05, 2010 

Constructing Nuclear Reactor In Saskatchewan Could Triple Consumers' Power Bills But Sask Party Gov't Still Wants To Go For It!

There are a lot of politics attached to the Uranium industry in Saskatchewan. While both the New Democrats and the Saskatchewan Party have pro and anti nukes in their ranks, Brad Wall's government would love to build nuclear reactors in Saskatchewan for purely ideological reasons. Study after study over the years has demonstrated that for a province of only 1 Million people, nuclear generated power is simply not viable economically.

However that doesn't seem to sway some in Brad Wall's Cabinet, most notably, Energy Minister Bill Boyd. Mr. Boyd was a former leader of the provincial Conservative Party before joining the Saskatchewan Party and is a rabid pro-nuke.

This past July, yet another 'nuclear study' was completed:
"Constructing a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan could triple consumers' power bills and would not decrease greenhouse-gas emissions, said a report released Tuesday.

"It is an expensive option for Saskatchewan to pursue. It's not cost-effective," said Heath Packman, a former Saskatchewan government official and author of In the Red: The Green Behind Nuclear Power.

The report, commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), states nuclear power would have the highest capital costs of any energy form for Saskatchewan. It also says Saskatchewan's export market for surplus power "has been greatly exaggerated," as this power would be forced to compete with more cost-effective hydroelectric power from Manitoba, B.C., Washington and Oregon."
Regina Leader-Post

You would have thought that the matter would be settled for awhile, but Minister Boyd just can't help himself and .... well ... here we go again!
"If the 500 delegates at the Uranium 2010 conference in Saskatoon this week find it strange Saskatchewan -- the world's second-largest producer of uranium -- doesn't generate its own nuclear power, Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd wouldn't be surprised.

"I think they do. Absolutely I think they believe it is odd," Boyd said after a presentation Monday at the international conference.

But he doesn't expect Saskatchewan's energy generation to remain nuclear-free forever.

While a large nuclear reactor or two for the province remains out of the question for the time being, the minister repeated the Saskatchewan Party's belief that nuclear remains an option -- especially burgeoning small-reactor technology.

"If there are export opportunities or emerging demand for electricity in the future, then we'll have to re-evaluate that, or perhaps look at small nuclear technology that can bring nuclear technology on in small increments," he said.

In 2009, the government-established Uranium Development Partnership (UDP) recommended against moving forward with a large-scale reactor development, saying the economics and demand base for nuclear energy aren't yet at a level required for such a large-scale project.

Boyd remains optimistic Saskatchewan will one day use uranium mined from the Athabasca Basin to fuel a reactor of its own.

"I'm pro-nuclear make no bones about it."

Regina Leader-Post

Mr. Boyd is 'pro-nuclear' ... too bad that he isn't a bit more 'pro-the consumers of Saskatchewan'.

There are a couple power point shows and a video that could be useful to Sask opponents of nuclear energy here:

The video is on uranium mining and refining and should open a few eyes in SK. The power points were presented in opposition to Bruce Power's 2009 bid to build a new 2-reactor plant in Nanticoke, Ontario. The company eventually abandoned it's plans. In the Nanticoke case, there was no public funding forthcoming and private capital laughed the proposal out of existence.

This wouldn't have anything to do with development of Saskatchewan's own bitumen fields, would it? There's a lot of interest in nuclear power for Athabasca.

The Sask Party plan had always been to sell nuclear generated power to Alberta, specifically for the Oil sands development. The problem remains .. the outrageous cost of a reactor - something that taxpayers likely would have to pay for.

Devine and his gang kicked this same idea around in the 1980's didn't they? It made no economic sense then and it makes no sense now. This is probably just another meaningless trial balloon anyway. We can't afford one now that we're on the verge of losing control of potash.

I might be less skeptical of the need for a power reactor in this province if we had already fully exploited hydro, solar and wind. We've hardly done that. Put up enough wind turbines between Speedy Creek and Regina, we'd have more electricity than we could possibly use.

If we're going to consider nuclear energy why not explore thorium instead? It makes much more environmental and ethical sense than traditional U238 power reactors.

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