SASKATOON — Constructing a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan could triple power bills and will not decrease greenhouse-gas emissions, according to a report released Tuesday.

"It's not cost-effective," said Heath Packman, a former Saskatchewan government official and author of In the Red: The Green Behind Nuclear Power.

The report, commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, states nuclear power would have the highest capital costs of any energy form for Saskatchewan. It also says Saskatchewan's export market for surplus power "has been greatly exaggerated," as this power would be forced to compete with more cost-effective hydroelectric power from Manitoba, B.C., Washington and Oregon.

The Saskatchewan government explored the possibility of a nuclear reactor for the province, but has put any plans on hold, citing cost uncertainty.

On Dec. 17 2009, Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd announced the findings of the government-appointed Uranium Development Partnership (UDP).

The potential for an increased cost to consumers for power generation was a chief concern for the government. Boyd left the door open to future development.

"When you look at all of those kinds of things — cost drivers, demand, all of those things — we are of the view that this is simply not something that meets with the needs of Saskatchewan at this particular time," Boyd said last year. "When you look beyond 2020, we still think it should be in the basket of options."

According to various studies cited by Packman, the capital costs of creating new nuclear power are estimated at roughly $4,000 per kilowatt hour. Nuclear is the most expensive, along with solar which costs the same amount. Coal ($2,438), biomass ($2,500), wind ($1,700) and natural gas ($700) are the other options cited.

As for fixed annual operations and maintenance, nuclear was most expensive at $100 per kilowatt hour, followed by coal ($45), solar ($33), wind ($25) and natural gas ($20).

The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce has indicated its support for development of uranium and nuclear projects in Saskatchewan.

A 2009 report from the Chamber states "uranium is cost effective and years of operating experience has shown that nuclear energy is safe and has minimal environmental and waste related impacts."

Packman said every country that has constructed reactors has been forced to subsidize the project.

No one from the Saskatchewan government was available for comment Tuesday.
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix . . . .JULY 27TH 2010


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