Community members are voicing a mix of curiosity and concern in key areas such as environmental impact, safety, and economic benefits as nuclear power moves closer to becoming a reality in the southeast.

“When we first started having conversations with folks in the public in about 2022, September 2022, shortly thereafter when we went out and shared more information on the project, the two most common questions we were getting were on water and on waste,” said Alexis Doyle, a consultant with SaskPower. “As those conversations continued over the course of the past year and a half, when you have information to share and answer those questions in real time, what you'll find is you have new questions that start to pop up.” 

Travis Sandeski, a spokesperson with SaskPower said that the main question was regarding the timeline and status of the project.   

“We’re a non-nuclear jurisdiction, and so we don’t have a lot of experience with nuclear waste or nuclear or just nuclear facilities, period. So, a lot of curiosity of what that is and what that isn’t,” said Sandeski.  

Technology selection was one of the first milestones for the project which was chosen in 2022.  

Timeline:  

2025: Site Selection 

2029: Decision on Impact Assessment and License to Prepare Site.  

2029: Final investment decision on whether to proceed with building a Small Modular Reactor (SMR)  

2030: License to construct  

2033: License to operate  

2034: Commercial operation.  

“It sounds like there will be potentially 1700 jobs in the building process of it and probably two to three hundred to actually operate it. So just for the economy in the area, I think people are excited about that part of it,” said R.M. of Cambria 6 reeve Darwin Daae.  

He said that so far, he has heard mostly positive reactions in the community. 

“The only negative comments that I have heard is people are concerned if something happens, and for the people living close to it,” said Daae.  

“Conversations with people concerned about the operational safety of the facility and what is in place to ensure that if something happened, there is a way to manage and protect the environment and the people who live there,” said Doyle. 

He added federal policies have impacted how the province's energy sector operates and believes SMRs are a good option going forward.  

“I still like the idea of having a coal plant, but because they have to shut them down, this nuclear makes a bunch of sense,” said Daae.  

The next SaskPower information sessions will be at the Village Office in Macoun on July 10 & 24 from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and at the Estevan Shoppers Mall on July 22 & 25 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.