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[cdn-nucl-l] 70% back nuclear plant in Saskatchewan
Posted in the Regina Leader-Post on January 18, 2006 and at:
70% back nuclear plant here
Bruce Johnstone, The Leader-Post
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Saskatchewan residents support nuclear fuel processing and even a nuclear power
plant in the province, but are divided on the issue of waste fuel storage and
disposal, a nuclear conference was told Tuesday.
But the head of the world's largest uranium producer said storing and disposing
of nuclear waste in Saskatchewan makes more sense than building a current
generation, 1,000-1,500 megawatt nuclear plant in the province.
Doug Fast of Fast Consulting, a Saskatoon-based public-opinion research
company, told about 200 delegates at the Exploring Saskatchewan's Nuclear
Future conference that public support for uranium mining remains strong.
"Eighty-four per cent of the population currently support the continuation of
uranium mining in Saskatchewan,'' said Fast, who does public-opinion polling on
behalf of Cameco Corp. and Cogema Resources, both Saskatoon-based uranium
Asked if Saskatchewan should build a nuclear power plant, 70 per cent of
respondents supported the idea, while 25 per cent were opposed, Fast said.
Similarly, most Saskatchewan residents support further refining and processing
of uranium in the province.
"(Support for) processing has always been fairly strong. These are not new
results,'' Fast said.
But support for nuclear-waste storage and disposal in the province is lukewarm,
with only 56 per cent in favour, Fast said. More importantly, 25 per cent of
respondents who strongly support waste disposal were offset by an equal
percentage who strongly oppose the concept.
"This is a divisive issue in the province,'' Fast said, adding that the level
of strong opposition is "too high to pursue something like that.''
Jerry Grandey, president and CEO of Cameco Corp., agreed that "uranium
processing could be a real opportunity for economic development in this
"We believe demand (for nuclear power) will increase at an accelerating rate
and, in about 10 years, more refining and more conversion will be required,''
said Grandey, who was appointed CEO in 2003
Storing and disposing of spent or used nuclear fuel also represents an
opportunity for the province, Grandey said, noting that the Nuclear Waste
Management Organization recently identified Saskatchewan as one of four
provinces suitable for a long-term, deep geological disposal of nuclear waste.
"Saskatchewan, along with Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario are on the list of
suitable sites because the geologically stable storage conditions in the
Canadian Shield exist and because of the extensive benefits each province
realizes from the nuclear industry.''
But building a large nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan doesn't make economic
sense at the present time, he said.
"The current generation of nuclear plants must be deployed in 1,000-to-1,500
megawatt sizes to be economic. That's enough to service one-third to one-half
of Saskatchewan's current demand.''
Exporting the surplus power wouldn't be feasible in the absence of large power-
transmission lines close to the nuclear power plant, he added.
"Thus, in the short-term, development of a large-scale (nuclear) plant in
Saskatchewan is not, in my opinion, a likely scenario,'' Grandey said.
However, a new generation of small reactors -- between 150 and 300 megawatts --
is under development that would make more sense for the province. "Such
reactors could be used and be useful in Saskatchewan's long-term energy future.
It's a development that clearly warrants watching.''
© The Leader-Post (Regina) 2006