Saskatchewan won't build nuclear reactor

Thu Dec 17, 2009 1:19pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Saskatchewan, a top uranium producing region, said on Thursday it will not go ahead with construction of Western Canada's first nuclear reactor due to uncertainty about cost.

However, the provincial government left the door open to future development, but it said that additional information and consultation is required before any go-ahead.

Construction of a reactor had been recommended by both a government advisory panel and by Canadian power generation company Bruce Power, which is part-owned by Saskatchewan-based uranium miner Cameco and pipeline company TransCanada Corp.

"We carefully evaluated (Bruce Power's) initial plans, however uncertainty around long-term costs to consumers remains a lingering concern," provincial Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd said.

He said the large scale of the proposed plant requires a regional approach that would ideally involve the two other Canadian Prairie provinces, Alberta and Manitoba.

Nuclear power has enjoyed a global renaissance in recent years, helped by soaring oil prices and concerns about the greenhouse gas emissions associated with coal-fired generation.

The decision comes as the Canadian government said on Thursday it is putting its CANDU nuclear-power company up for sale.

(Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)