Premier Scott Moe with an eVinci mockup. Saskatchewan Research Council.

SASKATOON – On Nov. 27 Premier Scott Moe announced $80 million for the Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) to pursue the demonstration of a microreactor in Saskatchewan. SRC will apply the research and knowledge gained from the licensing and deployment of an initial microreactor to support the Saskatchewan nuclear industry to better understand this type of technology and the potential for future microreactor projects in the province.

“This project has the opportunity to be transformative for our economy, industry and communities,” Moe said. “Microreactors provide a custom solution for Saskatchewan’s unique energy needs.”

“This first microreactor will open the door for future deployments across Saskatchewan,” Minister Responsible for SRC Jeremy Harrison said. “These deployments will create economic development opportunities and jobs.”

“Our vision is to see the first eVinci microreactor in an industrial application and lay the groundwork for many more projects in the future,” president and CEO of SRC Mike Crabtree said.  “What we learn through this project will prepare SRC to assist communities and industries in future projects.”

The eVinci™ microreactor will be built by Westinghouse Electric Company. Notably, in recent weeks, Saskatoon-based Cameco closed its purchase of 49 per cent of Westinghouse, meaning that in a manner, buying Westinghouse in this case is “buying Saskatchewan.”

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Subject to licensing and regulatory requirements, this first eVinci in Saskatchewan is expected to be operational by 2029. The location of the reactor will be determined as the project progresses through the regulatory processes, the SRC said.  The surrounding infrastructure is less than two thirds the size of a hockey rink. The eVinci is classified as a microreactor capable of producing five megawatts of electricity, over 13 megawatts of high temperature heat, or operating in combined heat and power mode.

Representatives from Westinghouse Electric Company, Mike Crabtree, Premier Scott Moe, Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel, Jeremy Harrison. Saskatchewan Research Council

Notably, the term “small modular reactors” has often been used to cover reactors ranging in size from the 5 megawatt eVinci to the 300 megawatt General Electric-Hitachi BWRX-300 that SaskPower is considering building (similar in output to the Shand Power Station). More recently, the smallest reactors such as the eVinci, which will fit in a seacan, are being referred to as “microreactors.”

“Westinghouse is proud to be working with the team at SRC on this vital project, and for the support from Premier Moe and the Government of Saskatchewan,” Westinghouse President and CEO Patrick Fragman said. “The eVinci battery technology is the perfect fit for Saskatchewan since it is fully transportable. It also provides carbon-free electricity and heat, uses no water and can be completely removed from site after operating continuously for eight years or more.”

SRC is Canada’s second largest research and technology organization. SRC safely operated a SLOWPOKE-2 nuclear research reactor for 38 years before decommissioning it in 2021. For more information, visit www.srcnuclear.ca.

Westinghouse supplied the world’s first commercial pressurized water reactor in 1957 and the company’s technology is the basis for nearly one-half of the world’s operating nuclear plants. A notable portion of the United States Navy nuclear fleet also uses Westinghouse plants, including the 10 Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and Seawolf-Class submarines.

 

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