On October 14, 2011, the University of Saskatchewan board of governors formally approved the incorporation of the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) “to stimulate new research, development and training in advanced aspects of nuclear science and technology.” Although the pieces seemed to come together in just a few short months, the game plan had been coalescing since Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party government was first elected in 2007. Tracing corporate connections and developments behind the scenes shows how a coordinated strategy can be implemented largely outside public purview and beyond generally accepted public accountability. What follows is a chronology of the events. For a more detailed analysis, see the full article.
November: Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party government is sworn in.
December: An Act respecting Enterprise Saskatchewan is introduced in the Legislature; proclaimed July 2008.
June: SaskPower accepts the offer of a feasibility study by Bruce Power from Ontario to explore the possibility of bringing nuclear energy to the province as part of the Saskatchewan 2020 initiative.
October: Saskatchewan government creates the Uranium Development Partnership (UDP), chaired by University of Saskatchewan vice-president Richard Florizone.
November: Bruce Power and SaskPower jointly release Bruce Power’s feasibility report, “Saskatchewan 2020: Clean energy, new opportunity,” proposing a nuclear power plant in Saskatchewan.
March: The UDP report, “Capturing the full potential of the uranium value chain in Saskatchewan,” is released with recommendations aimed at an integrated uranium development strategy for the province.
April: Provincial government announces “The future of uranium in Saskatchewan public consultation process,” with Dan Perrins as Chair, directed to lead an independent process focused on the recommendations made by the UDP.
July: Provincial government and the University of Saskatchewan announce a partnership to pursue a nuclear reactor that will produce medical isotopes in Saskatoon. Application for federal government approval is unsuccessful.
September: Perrins’ final report on the future of uranium industry development consultations is released. Fully 88 per cent of the 2263 responses reject the overall strategy of the UDP report. Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd responds that “. . . it’s neither a green light nor a red light for future uranium development. It’s more like a yellow light – take any next steps with caution.”
March: Saskatchewan government announces $30 million grant over seven years to establish the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation (CCNI) at University of Saskatchewan.
August: Provincial government and Japan’s GE Hitachi announce grants of $5 million each to the University for “a research partnership focusing on nuclear medicine, materials science, nuclear safety and small reactor design.”
September: University Council (representing faculty) accepts recommendation for the establishment of CCNI.
October: University Board of Governors gives formal approval to proceed with incorporation of CCNI. The proposal is not submitted to University Senate for consideration.