SaskPower's CEO and President Rupen Pandya was in Estevan on Monday to chat about the ongoing SMR project.

They're still in the process of choosing which specific site would be used for the project.

They also haven't yet decided whether it would be in Estevan or Elbow, a community in central Saskatchewan.

Pandya stated that they're getting closer to that selection.

"The next stage in 2023 will be actually to identify specific sites in both the Estevan area and the Elbow area. Then in 2024, it will be to narrow that down to ultimately where the next SMRs will likely be built."

The presentation also covered other power projects that would affect the southeast and what kind of hiring might go in for an SMR project.

How those end up working out could be another factor in the project.

"We will actively look at what the power requirements are in the province and how we're going to respond to that power requirement. If it is SMRs, then we'll need to look at everywhere we can just deploy SMRs effectively and certainly right now. Estevan and Elbow are identified as the two regions that are most conducive to those build-outs."

In the end, Pandya listened to questions from the assembled councillors, who pressed on him about the importance of getting a project like this in Estevan, especially with the possibility of the coal mine shutting down.

"I just want to be very clear that if we don't get the first ones, the disaster for this Community is huge," said Councillor Lindsay Clark, "I mean, we're talking about large numbers of people not having a job, and I think that people need to be a number one priority in your decision because it will absolutely destroy this community if we don't get it so I'm almost begging you to say this is where it needs to go."

You can find the presentation in the latest council meeting on the City of Estevan's website.

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