Even though Saskatchewan is one of the largest producers of uranium in the world, the province does not have facilities to generate nuclear energy. But, it appears that is about to change.
Premier Scott Moe announced on Friday that Saskatchewan is devising ways of how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, and one of the options is to bring small modular reactors (SMRs) to the province. Back in 2019, Saskatchewan entered into an agreement with New Brunswick and Ontario to assess the feasibility of bringing SMR technology to the province, and now SaskPower is slated to reveal the next steps in the evaluation process, such as possible locations for such a facility come Monday.
Canada accounts for 22% of the total global uranium output, with the majority of the production coming from the Cigar Lake and McArthur River mines in northern Saskatchewan— the two largest and highest-grade producing mines in the world. Canada has already mined a total of 539,773 tU as of 2019, and there are about 514,400 tU of known uranium resources that have yet to be extracted.
As such, Canada is poised to play a major role in meeting future global uranium demand, particularly if nuclear energy-dependent countries halt imports from Russia in response to the Ukraine crisis. Indeed, in an effort to exert further pressure on Moscow, several Congress representatives have devised their own version of a bipartisan bill calling on the Biden administration to stop uranium imports from Russia, and instead focus on strengthening America’s domestic mineral production.
“We can no longer tolerate this nuclear fuel dependence or the flow of U.S. dollars for uranium purchases that prop up the Putin regime,” said President of the Uranium Producers of America and Executive Vice President of Uranium Energy Corp. Scott Melbye. “The domestic uranium industry stands ready to work with U.S. utilities and other Western uranium suppliers to ensure every single domestic reactor will be able to maintain operations as the U.S. economy increasingly relies on clean nuclear power.”
Although ambitious, it will take some time before the US can completely become uranium-independent. In the interim, America’s vulnerability in lacking domestic mineral production will likely come as a benefit to Canada, as the country may soon look to its northern neighbour to meet immediate shortfalls should the Biden administration move ahead with the bill.
Information for this briefing was found via CTV News, World Nuclear Association, Twitter, and House.gov. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.
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