Sask Power selects Estevan…

Jun 20, 2024
Written by: Marvin Baker

There was some new information that came out last week regarding the implementation of nuclear energy in Saskatchewan.

Sask Power released a statement saying it has made significant progress in its search for a host site for the province’s first Small Modular Reactor facility and it is seriously close to the North Dakota border.
The SMR is actually a small nuclear reactor and after studying this for at least four years, Sask Power has whittled it down to two sites, both near Estevan, Boundary Dam and Rafferty Dam.

To clarify some information here. Estevan is a city of 15,000, about the same size as Jamestown, in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan, just north of the North Dakota border near Crosby and Noonan. Sask Power is the company that supplies electrical power to most of the province. And small modular reactor is apparently a nice way of keeping the word nuclear out of the title.

Rafferty Dam is on the Souris River about three miles north of Estevan, and is 21 miles northwest of Noonan, the closest community in North Dakota.

Boundary Dam is even closer. It is three miles south of Estevan, placing it just 15 miles north of Noonan. Boundary Dam is also on the Souris River as is Lake Darling Dam, six miles east of Carpio and 20 miles northwest of Minot.
And, as we all know from previous spring flooding, the high water starts around Boundary and Rafferty dams, comes through Lake Darling Dam, down to Minot, then takes a turn and returns into Manitoba near Westhiope and then into the Assiniboine River.

A public statement about this hasn’t yet been made in the United States, but Sask Power released its own information and at least one official in Saskatchewan has talked publicly about nuclear power on the outskirts of Estevan.

Roy Ludwig is the mayor of Estevan and has spent his career working in a coal mine at Bienfait, just to the east of Estevan. He is on board with Sask Power placing an SMR near his city and 21 miles from the Portal port of entry into North Dakota.
Because Canada is taking steps to address climate change and is phasing out coal-generated power, Ludwig believes a lot of jobs that now support the Estevan economy will be remain with this new generation of electrical power.
Sask Power tells us in its news release that the electrical infrastructure is already in place and will only need upgrades rather than being built from scratch, saving Sask Power a lot of money in the process.

According to the plan, the final decision is still about a year out. A decision to proceed is planned for 2029 and the building of this 315-megawatt reactor is expected in 2034. If the math is correct, that’s enough power to supply about 20,000 homes.

One thing Sask Power hasn’t said, at least not publicly, is what happens in the event of an accident? We all know what happened at Chernobyl in April 1986. Chernobyl produced approximately 1,000 megawatts of power so Estevan would be about a third of that.

Mr. Ludwig has made it clear that nuclear power is the safest electrical power, as long as it’s contained. There are nuclear reactors in various places in eastern Canada that have been in operation for decades and there has never been an accident.

There’s no doubt Sask Power will have safeguards in place because it will be under scrutiny from the city of Estevan, the province of Saskatchewan, the Canadian government and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.
Because the final decision hasn’t been made, there are actually a couple of other sites that are being considered, but aren’t as strong as the Estevan area. They are Elbow, a small town on Lake Diefenbaker, which is near Saskatoon and Coronach, another small town 26 miles north of Scobey, Mont.

This SMR is said to reduce greenhouse gas emission by at least 50 percent by 2030 and is part of the overall federal government plan to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

More information may be found about this at (

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