SaskPower gave an update on their SMR project, going over some of the steps they took during the process.

The decision was announced earlier this year, with an Estevan site being selected over a location near the Elbow region.

Sarah Klein Bentley, a Supply Plan Engineer with SaskPower, gave a presentation on how they settled on a site.

"Overall the process has five steps starting with selecting the best-suited technology for SaskPower. So we used a number of siting criteria including technical engineering safety as well as environmental and social-cultural criteria to identify the most suitable areas in the province."

"The siting criteria was used to identify citing areas and was further refined through public and stakeholder engagement. Once we had narrowed the list of potential sites, we undertook a number of detailed studies on that shorter list to further aid in site selection, which is where we are about right now."

1. Technical Evaluation

The first step was centered around the technical evaluation, which resulted in the province choosing the GE Hitachi BWRX 300 reactor. The qualifications included the safety risks and requirements federally.

2. Information on the Areas

The second step saw SaskPower gather together information as to whether or not certain areas matched the technical, social, cultural, and environmental requirements for the project. That also included spatial regional data for each siting criterion. They also produced an indicator workbook that catalouged all the criteria with their own individual weight of importance.

3. Utilizing Past Criteria

The third step had Saskpower use past criteria for plants to map out possible areas where a site would work, with a map showing areas of higher or lower overall suitability.

4. Public and Stakeholder Engagement

In the fourth step, SaskPower informed the public about the potential spaces a site could end up in the Estevan or Elbow areas. This helped them better understand community priorities while further narrowing site selection.SaskPower says they will continue to seek out public input as the project continues.

5. Technical Work on Suitability

In the fifth and final stage, SaskPower took the possible areas and went through them with more in-depth processes, such as determining water intake areas, who owned the land the site would be built on, and whether the site was previously used for coal mining.

In the end, SaskPower is looking at some more studies to make sure they're making the right choice when it comes to the land.

"Additional technical studies on our top sites are planned to be conducted from now till the end of the year to support the final site selection. So we'll be assessing the cost trade-offs for major components of the project such as transmission and transport," said Bentley. "We'll be starting to look at the sites with respect to constructibility, water intake, and return infrastructure. So starting to contemplate the conceptual site layouts to compare the opportunities or risk factors of the sites."

"Verifying our desktop findings will further further aid us with this work. So geological and hydrogeological environment. It will need to be confirmed by field drilling studies, so a complete comprehensive drilling drilling program is planned for this summer. This information will help define the optimal areas to help to build on the sites."