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Saskatchewan and Hitachi sign nuclear R&D agreements – August 2011


August 30, 2011
By Alyssa Dalton

August 30, 2011 – The Saskatchewan government and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd. will invest $10 million in funding for two Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that will facilitate and support research collaborations in nuclear medicine, materials science, nuclear safety and small reactor design, they say.

“Almost six months ago premier Wall announced our new research centre for nuclear medicine and materials science at the University of Saskatchewan and today I’m pleased to announce a new partnership with Hitachi Ltd, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd. (Hitachi-GE), GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas LLC (GEH) and Global Nuclear Fuel – Americas LLC, (GNF-A) to further establish Saskatchewan as a leader in nuclear science and medicine,” said Innovation minister Rob Norris.

Innovation Saskatchewan will provide $5 million over the next five years to support R&D activities pursuant to the MOUs in collaboration with Saskatchewan-based research institutions including the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina, the Saskatchewan Research Council and the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron, explained the province. The Hitachi Group, including its alliance with General Electric will match Saskatchewan’s contribution.

According to the parties, the new research partnership will leverage Hitachi’s successful development and commercialization of proton beam therapy technologies and Saskatchewan’s world class research facilities such as the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron to investigate the development of new nuclear medicines and nuclear imaging technologies.

Nuclear safety and the reclamation of unused uranium fuel rods are areas of interest to both Hitachi and Innovation Saskatchewan, they said.

Under the MOUs, Innovation Saskatchewan will also work with Hitachi-GE, GEH and GNF-A on research into the design and feasibility of small reactor technologies although any decision on whether to pursue nuclear power in Saskatchewan is still “many years away”.

According to the province, the $10 million investment in nuclear R&D builds on announcements by the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan from earlier this year to invest $30 million for the establishment of a new centre for research in nuclear medicine and materials science, $17 million for the establishment of a Centre for Innovation in Cyclotron Science, $12 million to support innovative research in the production of life saving medical isotopes and $10.1 million for the development of Saskatchewan’s first PET/CT facility for diagnosis and treatment of cancer and heart disease at the University of Saskatchewan.