Letter: SaskPower has energy options other than nuclear power

A reader believes after its big financial loss this year, SaskPower needs to tread carefully as it considers nuclear power for the future.

SaskPower, usually a profitable crown corporation, will post its biggest loss ever this year, $105 million. (“SaskPower projects hefty financial loss,” Jan. 13)

Nonetheless it has plans to buy a small modular nuclear reactor (“SaskPower selects GE-Hitachi unit,” June 27, 2022), No one knows how much these small reactors will cost because they have yet to be built, but current estimates are from $1.5 to $5 billion. And huge cost overruns are normal in the nuclear industry.

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This will be a significant burden for taxpayers.

Is nuclear power — a complex, expensive and dangerous way to generate electricity — our best option? I commend SaskPower for its ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction target, and I appreciate the reasoning behind going nuclear, though I think it’s flawed.

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We need to cut emissions immediately, not a decade from now when new reactors come online. And uranium, mined, processed, and shipped exclusively as fuel for the nuclear industry, has created and will continue to create huge GHG emissions.

I also commend SaskPower’s investment in wind and solar. These renewable energy sources are cheaper, safer, and quicker, and there are ways to store the power when it’s calm and cloudy.

And, if it hasn’t already, maybe SaskPower should consider addressing demand as well as supply. A vigorous campaign to promote using less electricity more efficiently, with various carrots like time-tiered billing and rebates, could reduce consumption or at least hold it steady.

If we use less, we don’t have to generate as much.

Jan Norris, Saskatoon

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