With Westinghouse now 49% owned by Cameco, the prospect of “buying Saskatchewan” becomes significant

 

REGINA, SASKATOON – With Saskatoon-based Cameco’s recent purchase of 49 per cent of Westinghouse Electric Company, it was all but inevitable that SaskPower would end up working with the two companies on its ongoing nuclear development plans. And it also raises the prospect of SaskPower eventually working with two reactor builders in the future – GE-Hitachi and Westinghouse.

And that has resulted in a memorandum of understanding (MOU), announced on June 17, “to evaluate the potential of Westinghouse’s nuclear reactor technology and the associated nuclear fuel supply chain required for Saskatchewan’s future clean power needs.”

Since Westinghouse is now nearly half-owned by a Saskatchewan-based company, this raises the considerable issue of “buying Saskatchewan,” when it comes to the development of nuclear power in this province, even thought Westinghouse reactors have been to this point neither designed nor manufactured in Saskatchewan. Still, that’s in stark contrast to buying the Canadian designed and built CANDU reactors. Originally developed by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), the CANDU now resides with AtkinsRéalis, the Quebec company formerly known as SNC-Lavalin.

The MOU was signed by Saskatchewan Power Corporation (SaskPower), Westinghouse Electric Company (Westinghouse) and Cameco Corporation (Cameco) (TSX: CCO; NYSE: CCJ).

Combined, the three companies make up the most significant nodes of Saskatchewan’s nuclear industry – the nuclear fuel provider, Cameco, a reactor builder, Westinghouse and a power utility that will use the power from those reactors, SaskPower.

  • 0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
    0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
  • 0078 LHOS 2024
    0078 LHOS 2024
  • 0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
    0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
  • 0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
    0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
  • 0076 Latus only
    0076 Latus only
  • 0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
    0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
  • 0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
    0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0002 gilliss casing services
    0002 gilliss casing services
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 9001

 

“The MOU will explore technical and commercial pathways to deploy Westinghouse’s reactor technology, including the advanced AP1000® reactor and AP300™ small modular reactor (SMR), for long-term electricity supply planning,” the press release said.

The numbers in those model names are significant. The AP1000 stands for 1,000 megawatts per unit, although they actually produce slightly more than that, at 1,117 megawatts. Georgia Power’s Vogtle Units 3 and 4 have recently gone online, the newest additions to the Unites States nuclear fleet. Their much-delayed construction has been both a triumph and tragedy for Westinghouse, in that their completion, finally, marks a return to new nuclear construction in North America. But difficulties in their construction, especially time and cost overruns, led to Westinghouse’ s bankruptcy. And that, in turn, is the reason Cameco was able to buy nearly half the firm for what was essentially a song, just US$2.1 billion for 49 per cent of the company. Brookfield Asset Management bought the other 51 per cent.

Note: the above video was posted by Westinghouse on YouTube 10 years ago. 

And since the AP1000 design is a roughly 1,000 megawatt design, the new AP300 unit is a 300 megawatt design, an new entrant into the “small modular reactor” market. “Small,” in this case, is a relative term, as that’s roughly the same capacity of SaskPower’s coal-fired Shand Power Station. It is small, however, compared to large nuclear reactors, which tend to be in the 600 to 1,000 megawatt range.

(AtkinsRéalis also recently released its new 1,000 megawatt design, known as the Monark. While the Monark is based on existing CANDU designs, it is still very much in design stage, whereas the AP1000 is currently in service, most recently in Georgia. Similarly, the AP300 is based on the AP1000, but is not yet in service, either.)

The Westinghouse AP300 is a direct competitor to the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 small modular reactor, which has been chosen by SaskPower for its first nuclear reactors. The lead utility for the BWRX-300 is Ontario Power Generation, which has begun building four at Darlington, Ontario, followed by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Poland intends on building them by the dozen, and Estonia and Sweden are also developing BWRX-300 units.

Graphic of the internal workings of a Westinghouse AP300 small modular reactor. YouTube/Westinghouse

 

In making his initial announcement of Saskatchewan going into nuclear, then-SaskPower Minister Don Morgan spoke of building four BWRX-300s, although that number has since appeared to be in flux. But as recently as May 30, Premier Scott Moe spoke of building two at Estevan.

Moe has, on numerous occasions, referenced the possibility of Saskatchewan eventually getting into 1,000 megawatt reactors down the road.

  • 0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
    0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
  • 0078 LHOS 2024
    0078 LHOS 2024
  • 0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
    0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
  • 0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
    0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
  • 0076 Latus only
    0076 Latus only
  • 0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
    0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
  • 0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
    0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0002 gilliss casing services
    0002 gilliss casing services
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 9001

 

SaskPower said the MOU framework includes evaluation of a Saskatchewan-based nuclear supply chain to support nuclear energy projects, including fuel. It also identifies opportunities to collaborate on nuclear research, development and workforce training in partnership with Saskatchewan’s post-secondary institutions.

SaskPower said it is expected to make its final investment decision in 2029 whether to proceed with constructing Saskatchewan’s first SMR facility, although the provincial government has clearly indicated this is the path Saskatchewan will be taking. Speaking to the Estevan Chamber of Commerce on May 30, Moe said, “It’s our goal to really provide a reliable power source to Saskatchewan people and the industries, to provide an affordable power source to Saskatchewan people and industries. And one of the opportunities that we have to do, in a very structured way, to ensure that we have workforce continuity and a community like Estevan, is to make that move from coal as our assets time, their way up to 50 years of life, quite likely to nuclear, which is not a decision that has been confirmed yet, but quite likely to nuclear because there just aren’t a lot of other options. That is an opportunity for us all.”

Premier Scott Moe and CEO of Cameco Tim Giztel. Facebook/Scott Moe facebook page

 

Saskatchewan reactors, Saskatchewan fuel

SaskPower said it intends to use Saskatchewan uranium in any reactor constructed in the province. And that’s significant, since SMRs use enriched uranium. Canada’s existing fleet of CANDU nuclear reactors uses natural uranium. Due to nuclear arms treaties, enrichment of uranium is an extremely tightly-regulated activity worldwide.

“Leveraging knowledge from organizations that have significant expertise in the nuclear industry is critical to ensure we make responsible, informed decisions around our power future,” said Rupen Pandya, president and CEO of SaskPower, in the release. “Collaborating on nuclear fuel supply and evaluating various technologies will only serve to enhance our current small modular reactor development work and planning around workforce and the future of Saskatchewan’s power system.”

  • 0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
    0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
  • 0078 LHOS 2024
    0078 LHOS 2024
  • 0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
    0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
  • 0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
    0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
  • 0076 Latus only
    0076 Latus only
  • 0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
    0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
  • 0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
    0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0002 gilliss casing services
    0002 gilliss casing services
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 9001

 

AP300 Based on larger design

SaskPower noted, “The AP1000 reactor is in operation in the U.S. and China, where it is setting operational performance and availability records. It has been selected for the nuclear energy programs in Poland, Ukraine and Bulgaria, and is also under consideration at multiple other sites in Central and Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom (UK), India and North America.

“The AP300 modular reactor is the only SMR based on an advanced, large Generation III+ reactor already in operation globally. Westinghouse is targeting design certification by 2027 and for first construction to begin by 2030, with the operating unit planned to be available in the early 2030s. The AP300 SMR has been selected by the UK’s Great British Nuclear program and is under further customer consideration in Europe and North America.”

FILE – Reactors for Unit 3 and 4 sit at Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant on Jan. 20, 2023, in Waynesboro, Ga., with the cooling towers of older Units 1 and 2 billowing steam in the background. Company officials announced Wednesday, May 24, 2023, that Unit 3 would reach full power in coming days, after years of delays and billions in cost overruns. The reactors are in the white cylinders on the right. The cooling towers are on the left. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“Westinghouse is proud to work with SaskPower to share our industry-leading nuclear technology expertise in support of the province’s clean energy needs,” said Patrick Fragman, Westinghouse president and CEO. “Our globally deployed advanced AP1000 reactor provides demonstrated superior economic performance and availability, and our AP300 small modular reactor is based on this proven and licensed technology. We look forward to helping SaskPower bring carbon-free electricity to Saskatchewan for generations to come.”

“Cameco has a proud history and a significant presence in Saskatchewan, from our world-class uranium operations to our large and growing provincial workforce to our long-standing partnerships with northern Indigenous communities,” said Tim Gitzel, President and CEO of Cameco. “We look forward to assessing the potential role Cameco and Westinghouse could play in decarbonizing Saskatchewan’s power grid, an ambitious and important goal for the province’s future.”

The Saskatchewan Industrial and Mining Suppliers Association (SIMSA) has been tasked by the provincial government to develop a nuclear supply chain within this province. Executive director Eric Anderson told Pipeline Online, “It’s exciting and logical that Cameco and Westinghouse be involved in Saskatchewan’s SMR rollout.

“With Cameco’s purchase of 49 per cent of Westinghouse, it’s great to see them potentially leverage that relationship to see more development here than what would have happened without that,” Anderson said.

 

  • 0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
    0079 Ministry of Energy Business_incentive PO
  • 0078 LHOS 2024
    0078 LHOS 2024
  • 0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
    0077 Caprice Resources Stand Up For Free Speech
  • 0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
    0053 Kingston Midstream Westspur Alameda
  • 0076 Latus only
    0076 Latus only
  • 0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
    0073 SaskWorks-Pipeline Online
  • 0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
    0063 Turnbull Excavating hiring crusher
  • 0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
    0061 SIMSA 2024 For Sask Buy Sask
  • 0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
    0058 Royal Helium Steveville opens anonymous rocket
  • 0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
    0055 Smart Power Be Smart with your Power office
  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0002 gilliss casing services
    0002 gilliss casing services
  • 9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
    9002 Pipeline Online 30 sec EBEX
  • 9001

 

Moe says Estevan will be site of SMRs, continuity of workforce key to keeping current power plants running

Scott Moe speech on SMRs at Estevan, verbatim

Scott Moe comes to Estevan to discuss its power generation future