New report disputes the economic case for nuclear power in Saskatchewan

July 26, 2010

Regina — The Saskatchewan office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has released a new study on the economic costs of pursuing nuclear power in Saskatchewan. "In the Red: The Green Behind Nuclear Power," authored by policy researcher Heath Packman, critically examines the economic costs that the construction of a nuclear reactor in our province would entail.

While the Wall government has suspended its plans for nuclear energy in the province for now, they remain open to the future possibility of a nuclear reactor here in Saskatchewan. And despite the government’s concerns with costs, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce continues to support the idea, arguing that the economic case has yet to be made. This study should bring some clarity to the economic debate over the true costs of pursuing nuclear power in our province.

Taking into account a myriad of economic factors that have rarely been considered in public debates over the costs of nuclear power, Heath Packman concludes that the province can ill-afford the economic costs associated with the construction of a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan.

Some of the key findings from the report include:

  • Nuclear power has the potential to triple current electricity rates for Saskatchewan consumers to as much as $0.34 per KWh.
  • Over the life cycle of nuclear power generation, a significant amount of GHG are released into the atmosphere.
  • Even with carbon taxes factored in, nuclear power continues to demonstrate the highest capital costs ($4000/kW) in comparison to other forms of energy.
  • The export market for surplus power has been greatly exaggerated, as any excess capacity Saskatchewan had to offer would have to compete with lower-cost hydro-electricity from British Columbia, Manitoba, Washington, and Oregon.

"In the Red: The Green Behind Nuclear Power" should serve to further bolster arguments that Saskatchewan needs to rely on safer, cheaper and more sustainable forms of electricity generation to secure its future energy needs.

About the Author:

Heath Packman holds degrees from the University of Regina in Economics and History.  A writer and researcher of public policy, Heath spent six years working alongside the key Ministers of the Calvert administration in the Ministries or Industry, Finance, and Advanced Education and Training.

To interview the author, contact Heath Packman by phone at (306) 537-5271
Or by email: [email protected]

For more information, contact Simon Enoch, Director of the Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives at (306) 924 3372
Or by email at: [email protected]