Saskatchewan is NOT a nuclear testing ground.

Dear Saskatchewan Greens,

As most of you know, SaskPower (by way of the SaskParty) is moving ahead with a fleet of GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 Small Modular Nuclear Reactors. They see the Diefenbaker Lake and Estevan areas as sites big enough for at least two reactors, and they are envisioning four SMNRs in the province by 2042. The Saskatchewan Green Party is the ONLY political party in this province standing against this.

Here are some facts that are helpful when people ask “Why are you opposed to SMNRs?” 

First, the GE Hitachi BWRX 300-SMR has never been built! It’s actually NOT approved by any nuclear regulator. It’s a new design and still in the “conceptual“ phase. The Inter-Provincial strategy actually calls for licensing regulation short-cuts for SMRs to fast-track approvals. This lack of thorough ongoing study jeopardizes our safety and health. 

Secondly, Saskatchewan is a drought-prone province and SMNRs require massive amounts of water. Nuclear reactors and stored nuclear waste must be cooled to prevent meltdowns. Lake Diefenbaker and/or the Rafferty Reservoir would have to absorb the heat. This would result in negative impacts on water quality, fishing, biodiversity, recreation and irrigation. (Btw this is the same water source the SaskParty is proposing for their increased Diefenbaker irrigation project!). 

I would also like to point out that Lake Diefenbaker supplies drinking water for a whopping 70% of Saskatchewan’s population. Radioactive contamination of this water source would have a truly devastating impact on our province; not only does the Lake supply the greater part of our drinking water, it also supplies agricultural water – so our farming community would also be unable to sell their products should contamination occur. It should also be noted that both of our water sources also flow into Manitoba and the USA, so contamination would be a national and international issue, not purely affecting our province. 

The amount of water in the Souris River Basin varies tremendously from year to year; the reservoirs don’t always fill but SMNR’s will require cooling water constantly. I would like to clearly state that due to the urgent need of water for cooling in nuclear reactors for safety reasons, our already strained water supply in this province would have to go to these reactors FIRST! So don’t kid yourselves, my friends, that puts the reactors ahead of human drinking water, irrigation needs, animal agriculture, and recreational water needs. On the basis of water issues alone, nuclear reactors are a terrible choice for our drought-prone province. Climate change is going to exacerbate the current issues: there is guaranteed to be more evaporation, much more serious drought and higher temperatures. It’s possible that we would simply run out of water for these SMRs after spending a truly inconceivable amount of money on them.

Third, of course, comes the enormous price tag of nuclear. Saskatchewan has a low population and a high debt. We simply cannot afford nuclear. It is the MOST EXPENSIVE energy available! The nuclear industry itself is not financially sound, it’s in trouble. Westinghouse Electric went bankrupt in 2017 trying to build modular reactors. They cost over $5 Billion each (and rising) to build. After taking ten years to build, SMR’s would need large public subsidies. This will impact funding normally available for healthcare, education, roads and public infrastructure. We would be better off financially to invest in renewable technology that creates jobs. SMRs will only create 75 permanent jobs in Saskatchewan. This public money would be better used employing our own people to build cheaper and more sustainable electricity generation systems with renewables, using proven storage technology, plus upping our energy conservation.

The radioactive hazards involved with the BWRX-300 SMR’s planned for Saskatchewan are intense. These reactors will use Enriched Uranium fuel, which is NOT produced in Canada!! It’s not Saskatchewan uranium, despite the fact that politicians keep saying one of the reasons this makes sense here is that we have large uranium deposits. The uranium would, in fact, be transported from the GE nuclear fuel plant in South Carolina, with the added safety risk from travel.   

As well, each of the four planned Saskatchewan BWRX-300 SMRs will emit 33 trillion becquerels (Bq) of radioactive gases into the atmosphere every single year. Each SMR will also emit 732 million Bq of radioactive hydrogen (tritium) annually. Tritium can cause cancer and birth defects when inhaled or swallowed. The deadliest element known, plutonium, would be contained in the high-level nuclear waste produced. Spent fuel isn’t “used up” by nuclear reactors – nuclear fission creates new, even more deadly radioactive chemicals within the spent fuel bundles. (Spent fuel is more radioactive than new fuel bundles). 

Each BMRX-300 SMR needs 77.76 tonnes of Enriched Uranium fuel every single year, which will then result in 5,000 tonnes of high-level nuclear waste over the reactor's lifetime. The highly radioactive buildings and equipment would be left behind when SMR’s are decommissioned. The waste from the buildings and the spent fuel on-site will emit radiation for thousands of years. Our great-great grandchildren will be harmed by radiation from waste that they receive no benefit from, nor do those future generations have any say in this decision so consequential for them. The only way those future children have a say is through us, right now.

This election on October 28, 2024, decides the fate of the generations that come after us. Right now is the time we have been preparing for all these years. Do you know someone who is willing to learn about SMRs and speak to this issue in the fall election? We must have active candidates in all 61 provincial ridings and now, when it seems so, so difficult because of the greatly increased candidate fees, we must work hard as a group to elect Greens to the Legislature. We must fight this profound, disastrous mistake; we are the only party who will. We continue to nominate active candidates throughout the province. But you or someone you know may be the voice we need, one who ends up being the crucial individual to defeat SMRs in this province. This information MUST reach voters throughout Saskatchewan. We need this message in every single debate in every riding. This is our time and we are needed. We must protect our land, air, water and the animals and future generations who live on it. Reach out now to [email protected]

I also request that anyone who has not yet signed our petition on this subject, please take 30 seconds and do so. Please also send this petition to your friends and post it to social media and ask those you know to sign it. Here is the link to the petition on our website:



Yours from my heart,


Naomi Hunter
Leader of the Saskatchewan Green Party

[email protected] (My personal email gets to me the quickest.) 


P.S. If you would like more information on this issue, I recommend (the Pembina Institute) and our fantastic local , which are my preferred sources for anti-nuclear information. Everything in my “leader's message” and much more can be found on these two websites. They are incredible resources for all of us right now.

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