Scott Moe says potential SMR will ‘quite likely’ be located in Estevan

Kayle Neis/Regina Leader-Post. Premier Scott Moe gives his keynote speech at the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce's Food, Fuel, Fertilizer Global Summit on Monday, May 6, 2024 in Regina.

Moe dropped the news Monday at the Food, Fuel and Fertilizer Global Summit hosted by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce.

Alec Salloum, Regina Leader-Post

If Saskatchewan decides to develop a small modular reactor (SMR) it will “quite likely be in the Estevan area,” according to Premier Scott Moe.

Moe dropped the news Monday at the Food, Fuel and Fertilizer Global Summit hosted by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce — a week after SaskPower joined the CANDU Owners Group and the province signed an agreement with Alberta to advance nuclear power generation.

“I don’t think that’s been announced yet,” said Moe on the location.

Both Estevan and Elbow had previously been named as potential sites for the location of Saskatchewan’s first SMR.

Moe’s keynote speech focused on the province’s resource sector, agriculture and, of course, butting heads with the feds. The premier joked that he doesn’t wake up each day and immediately think about how he can pick a fight with the federal government.

“That doesn’t cross my mind until about 2:30 in the afternoon,” he said as former prime minister Stephen Harper sat listening nearby.

The notion of growth, both of the population hitting 1,250,000, and the economy, were central themes of the speech.

“It’s not just people arriving in Saskatchewan, it’s companies and corporate investments,” Moe said.

Anticipated capital investment in the province for 2024 is $19,573,500,000, which marks a gradual recovery from 2014 dollars which peaked at $20,020,900,00, according to the Government of Saskatchewan.

After his speech, and after hosting a chat with Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel, Moe said he felt the summit was “tremendously important” and hoped it would bring industry “players into the same room.”

While the day focused on economic development and agriculture, Moe had little to add on the rumours circulating that Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is set leave its Regina head office and relocate to Quebec.

“I don’t think there’s an update to be giving,” said Moe, before referencing a statement issued by FCC last week that unequivocally refuted the claim it intended to relocate.

“This is the challenge of members of the legislative assembly bringing what is essentially a rumour that they may have heard in a coffee shop somewhere to the floor,” said Moe.

Saskatchewan United Party (SUP) Leader Nadine Wilson brought forward the claim that FCC was set to leave the province last week, around the same time party fundraising numbers for 2023 were made public. SUP has raised more than $500,000, including a $200,000-contribution from a company with ties to the party’s deputy leader, the Canadian Press first reported.

“It isn’t money that ultimately translates into votes,” Moe said when asked if there’s something wrong with a system that allows a single business to donate such a large sum to a political party.

Moe also weighed in on a looming vote on the province’s latest contract offer to Saskatchewan teachers set to take place Tuesday and Wednesday.

The premier wouldn’t say how confident he is that teachers will vote yes, but said if a deal isn’t struck, there’s a possibility that the school year will have to be extended so students receive their required “instructional hours.”