Artist rendition of a GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 reactor. GE-Hitachi

REGINA, SASKATOON – It’s going to be several years before any construction starts on a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan, but job postings have already started to appear for people seeking to get involved.

SaskPower has several nuclear-related job postings, all located in Regina.

These postings come at a time when the nuclear industry is about to see a dramatic ramp-up in Canada. In recent days, the Province of Ontario, Bruce Power and Ontario Power Generation have announced a revival of the Ontario nuclear industry. Planning has begun to add an additional 4,800 megawatts of nuclear generating capacity at the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station. The Pickering Nuclear Generating Station will be refurbished instead of retired. And the announcement with significant impact on Saskatchewan was the expansion of Ontario’s small modular reactor (SMR) plans.

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Initially, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) was going to build the first unit in the world of the new GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 nuclear reactor, a 300 megawatt SMR. But only one. It is meant to be the prototype for world-wide deployment, including four reactors in Saskatchewan, one for the Tennessee Valley Authority at Oak Ridge, and several nations in Europe (Poland is considering up to 79 units). But now OPG plans on building an additional three BWRX-300 units at its Darlington site, and they will be under construction at the same time SaskPower builds its first two units during the early 2030s, according to current SaskPower timetables.

As such, the market will soon be very competitive for people with nuclear expertise.

The first SaskPower posting is “Senior Engineer, SMR development”. One of its requirements is “A minimum of six (6) years post P. Eng. relevant experience with preference for nuclear industrial or nuclear capital project design experience.”

The job description noted, “As a member of SaskPower’s management team, this position is responsible for assisting with and/or preparing technical studies, business cases, designs, specifications, tender evaluations, and equipment and construction drawings. This position will prepare project plans, costs, and schedules and provide contract management and project coordination services, ensuring alignment with departmental and corporate strategic goals and objectives.”

A second posting is for “Engineer, SMR development.”

It has a similar job description, but has a much lower level of qualifications. Notably, the posting states, Engineer-In-Training applications will be accepted and may be considered for this position.” That means SaskPower will consider hiring people who have an engineering degree, but have not yet received their professional engineering (P.Eng) designation.

One posting is for “Specialist, Small Modular Reactor Dev’t (Nuclear Security Officer)” What makes this position stand out is the security clearances it calls for, not something the common public would consider for a job with a power utility. The requirements include “Five (5) years of related information security experience, nuclear physical security and/or law enforcement experience and/or;  Previous or current Canadian Security Intelligence Service secret (class II) or top secret (class III) security clearance.”

“While a final decision to proceed with Saskatchewan’s first Small Modular Reactor (SMR) won’t be made until 2029, significant work is required to position SaskPower for construction,” SaskPower spokesperson Joel Cherry told Pipeline Online. “As such, we will be adding new staff as required to support this project in the coming years.”

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It’s not just SaskPower that’s looking for people with nuclear experience.

Eric Anderson, executive director of SIMSA, the Saskatchewan Industrial and Mining Suppliers Association, posted on Linkedin on July 13:

“SIMSA is hiring a nuclear supply chain specialist. The specialist will maximize the amount of Saskatchewan content for new nuclear development in Canada and globally, especially in Saskatchewan, including but not limited to: Small Modular Reactor component manufacturing and deployment, certified services to the nuclear industry, nuclear fuel manufacturing, etc. The job posting is here – https://lnkd.in/gM896Yrk

That link noted, “We are seeking a dedicated SMR and Nuclear Specialist to support a study on advanced manufacturing for SIMSA membership and drive supply-chain business development activities in the deployment of nuclear power within Saskatchewan, Canada, and globally. This role also entails working towards the development of nuclear component and fuel supply chains and acting as an active partner and liaison with different stakeholders. The ideal candidate will exhibit – experience in a senior leadership role, technical expertise, strong communication skills, and a deep understanding of the Saskatchewan supply chain.”

The detailed posting can be seen here. That posting notes, “Previous senior leadership experience in the nuclear or advanced manufacturing sector is required. Previous executive experience is considered an asset. Ten years experience working in, and strong relationships with, at least one of the following groups: (1) producing mining and/or energy companies, as well as related engineering firms; or (2) Saskatchewan’s mining, energy, and industrial supply chain; or (3) a nuclear agency, regulatory agency or research laboratory.”

Being a professional engineer is also considered an asset. This is also a term position, running until March 30, 2025, but with the potential for extension. It would be based in Saskatoon.

 

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Ontario and Bruce Power begin planning for massive new 4,800 megawatt nuclear power addition

Without committing to nuclear, Saskatchewan is pretty much committing to nuclear