June 17, 2008

Bruce Power Looks at Potential for Nuclear Power Plant in Saskatchewan

By Jennifer Graham, THE CANADIAN PRESS

SASKATOON - Ontario-based Bruce Power (TSX:CCO, TSX:TRP) is looking into the possibility of building a nuclear power plant in Saskatchewan.

Company president and CEO Duncan Hawthorne released a plan Tuesday dubbed the Saskatchewan 2020 initiative. It involves studying the potential of bringing nuclear energy to Saskatchewan to ensure the province has a secure supply of clean energy in the future.

"The reality of climate change is upon us and the government clearly understands the need to consider all options if we are to tackle one of society's most pressing issues," Hawthorne said in a news release.

As part of the plan, Bruce Power will look at the economic impact of and public attitudes about adding nuclear energy to the province's current electricity supply.

Bruce Power will work with SaskPower to evaluate electricity demand projections and examine what transmission upgrades would be needed to accommodate new nuclear units.

"This is a very preliminary step that is being taken by Bruce Power," stressed Enterprise Minister Lyle Stewart.

"There are a number of other steps that have to be taken on a very long road before we ever see a build of a nuclear power plant in the province. Certainly we'll at some point want to do our own review of any project, assuming that Bruce's review gives the project the green light."

Stewart said federal and provincial environmental concerns, public safety and water quality issues also need to be addressed. There would also need to be "substantial public consultations."

The feasibility study is not unexpected after comments by Saskatchewan Energy Minister Bill Boyd, who said last month that an "introductory-type" meeting was held with officials from Bruce.

Boyd has said Saskatchewan would be a good choice for a reactor.

There was no word Tuesday from officials on potential locations that would be suitable for a new generating station.

A report prepared for Crown-owned SaskPower and leaked to a radio station last month recommends a site on Lake Diefenbaker between the Gardiner Dam and the town of Elbow.

The February 2007 document states plant output from there would be split equally between Saskatchewan and Alberta. The report also says the region is a good choice because it's close to existing transmission lines and far from heavily populated areas, while at the same time within driving distance of major cities including Saskatoon and Regina.

But there are also cautionary notes about the water supply - the lake provides domestic supply for about 40 per cent of the province.

Bruce Power intends to begin its analysis this summer and issue a report by the end of the year.

Saskatchewan is not the only location being considered for a reactor. Earlier this year, Bruce Power Alberta filed an application with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for approval to prepare a site that could generate 4,000 megawatts of electricity from two to four reactors near Peace River, Alta.

The Ontario-based nuclear power company is a joint venture of Saskatoon-based uranium giant Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO) TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) of Calgary and other partners.