Wednesday, 29 June 2011

AECL CANDU Reactor Division: sold!!!

OK ladies and gentlemen the news we have all been waiting for is finally here, the Candu division of AECL is sold to SNC for... wait for it... wait for it... and the price is a mere jaw dropping $15M!!! ‎"Under the terms of the agreement, SNC-Lavalin, through its wholly owned subsidiary CANDU Energy, will take over the CANDU Reactor Division's three business lines: services to the existing fleet, life-extension projects and reactor new builds." Read more:
The essence of the news on the sale of Candu division of AECL: 1. SNC writes a cheque for only $15 million to buy AECL, 2. Government of Canada (taxpayers) pays $75 million to SNC for some initiatives. 3. Ontario loses at least about 800-900 jobs, 4. Government of Canada (taxpayers) undertakes all existing liabilities (~$3B-$4B)... could SNC have asked for a better deal??? and could the taxpayers been at the losing end any more??? And the statement by Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources, made at a media briefing in Toronto to announce the deal sums it all up: "The other alternative would, of course, be the winding down of the business. And that would have meant ultimately all the employees dismissed, much more significant losses, an abandonment of current customers and damage to Canada's international reputation" from
Advantages of CANDU technology: plenty! ... and since it seems the government and the media have focused more on the challenges and problems aecl has faced over the past several years, it seems appropriate to highlight some of the company’s success in developing unique nuclear power technology answering some of the problems the industry currently facing... were any of these achievements part of the debate on sale? so all those made possible by taxpayer's money will be the private's company's gain (SNS)... here are a few documents on those achievements, please add more if you know others:

CANDU Reactor in China first to directly use recovered uranium fuel: “AECL’s Chief Technology Officer Dr. Anthony De Vuono added, “As a proven commercial power reactor, our Enhanced CANDU 6 has the highest neutron efficiency compared to other competing technologies and consumes about 30% less natural uranium. Our NUE fuel cycle opens up a sustainable development path leading to an overall extension of uranium fuel resources while, at the same time, reusing the spent fuel from light water reactors.” (
The Candu reactor: an optimal platform for new fuels by Dr. Tony De Vuono presented at 2010 Pacific Basin Nuclear Conference (

China tests used nuclear fuel in Canadian atomic reactor: “An agreement to work together on the development of low uranium consumption Candu technologies in China was signed between the AECL and the Nuclear Power Institute of China (NPIC) on January 15, 2010. Citing the Candu reactor's low uranium consumption per terawatt-hour of electricity delivered to the grid, Zhao Hua, president of NPIC, said: "We are interested in working with AECL to jointly develop this important advantage including recycling recovered uranium from spent PWR fuel." (

Time to capitalize on CANDU’s potential: “The potential rewards are great for Canada. According to a recent Conference Board of Canada study, the construction of twin ACR-1000 units in Ontario would result in $5.15 billion in GDP creation and create 62,000 person-years of employment. Each new export of a CANDU to another nation could generate up to $1 billion of GDP impact, depending on Canadian content. The Study also outlined a scenario whereby AECL with four domestic projects and eight projects outside of Canada, would generate up to $55 billion in real GDP along with almost 500,000 person-years of employment. The window of opportunity is here. More than 200 reactors are planned to be built in the next 20 years and Canada is already in discussion with potential customers like China, Argentina, India, Jordan, Romania and other Eastern European countries who see the advantages of CANDU for their country.” (
Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them: In light of the sale of the Candu division of AECL announced on Wednesday, it seems appropriate to post the link to this article published in April issue of The Walrus ( This is a must read, it is an excellent read and provides an overview of the history of AECL’s achievements in medical isotope science, technology, and industry in Canada… and just when it was possible to make money, the government sold it off: “Brian mulroney came to power in September 1984, with the most elected seats in Canadian history. He campaigned as an anti-patronage crusader and a debt slayer. (During the previous Liberal regime, the debt had ballooned from around $32 billion to more than $200 billion.) And, throwing a bone to the right wing, he also promised to sell off Crown assets wherever possible. It didn’t take long before his eye fell on AECL’s profitable radiochemical division.
According to Litt’s book, the 1985 budget pledged that the “operation of AECL will be rationalized and profitable activities commercialized.” Throughout its thirty-three-year history, there hadn’t been many profitable activities within AECL. The agency consisted mainly of physicists and engineers doing experiments and designing complex nuclear reactors, mostly to produce energy. If anything, the government saw AECL as a big money pit.
So in September 1988, the isotope division was wrested away from its parent. Like a child up for adoption, it was given a new name, Nordion International Inc., and a glowing spec sheet, then moved into the orphanage of the Canada Development Investment Corporation, where all Crown corporations awaiting new owners were sent to bide their time.” … hmmm it is not hard to see the mess that created for Canada and AECL after this sale including the failed maple project and the impending billion dollar lawsuit by Nordion … and now this time there is the bargain sale of the Candu division of AECL (… and possibly the entire country’s nuclear industry)… like the saying says: “Those who fail to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors are destined to repeat them.”!!!
Here is a snapshot of media reports and their analysis on the news of the sale:
Sad end for a Canadian success story: Glad to see more voice of dismay at what has just happened is appearing in the media... unfortunately it seems it is too little too late! this one published in Toronto Star, a must read "To Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the 60-year-old Crown corporation was a drain on the federal treasury, a pygmy in a world of giants, a millstone to be dumped.
To those with a longer view, AECL being sold for $15 million — the price of a luxury condominium in Yorkville or a low-budget movie — to Montreal engineering firm SNC-Lavalin is a case study in bad management, lax government oversight and squandered opportunities."... "It began long before Harper’s watch. Five prime ministers — Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin and Harper — ignored warnings that the firm needed financial discipline, capable leadership and better technology to compete globally. Auditors general and nuclear safety experts tried to sound the alarm, but federal politicians either slept or turned a blind eye to the mess.
By the time Harper took power in 2006, AECL was a company with a reputation for missed deadlines, huge cost overruns and flawed designs. The Conservatives could have made an effort to turn it around by sending in management experts and top nuclear scientists. They could have looked for an international partner. Instead, they let it run down to the point where SNC-Lavalin was the only interested buyer."... ""Apart from the loss of a once-admired company, the sale of AECL creates a host of problems for its employees — 40 per cent of whom will lose their jobs — its suppliers and its prospective clients.
It undercut Ontario, which is in the market for two nuclear reactors. The province pleaded with Ottawa not to privatize AECL without negotiating a deal to cover the company’s cost overruns, as always done in the past, on the massive project. Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver made it clear his government is under obligation to help the province, should it choose to buy Candu 6 reactors. That means either taxpayers or hydro consumers will have to absorb the costs."... "There are two winners in this deal: Harper, who got rid of an unwanted responsibility, and SNC-Lavalin, which got a great bargain. Even if the Montreal firm never sells another reactor, it will make a tidy profit upgrading and servicing the 34 reactors AECL has already sold in seven countries.
There are many losers: Canadian science, the redundant workers, the Ontario government, hydro consumers and all those who believe that AECL could have competed with the best, given a fair chance.":

Nowadays capitalization means the privatization of profits and the socialization of losses.
Job losses: 900 job losses will be minimum... the announcement is kinda vague as it says 1200 aecl employees and "contractors" will be transferred to SNC... it is not clear how many of those 1200 will be aecl employees and how many contractors! and this is not even including potential job losses in Candu industries other than aecl because of the lack of future reactor developments... see: also:
More on the job loss because of the sale: "Atomic Energy of Canada’s Candu reactor division will be sold to SNC-Lavalinin a deal a union leader says puts up to 800 high-paying jobs at risk.
And the sale has left the Ontario government complaining that the province isn’t getting the same support for its energy sector that other province receive.
The union representing engineers and other professionals at AECL said the deal will chop about 40 per cent of the division’s staff, most working at AECL’s Sheridan Park labs and offices in Mississauga." and "Oliver said the deal protects 1,200 jobs. But Michael Ivanco, vice president of the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates, said that leaves about 800 high-paying jobs at risk.
“Some of these will be engineers and scientists and technologists,” Ivanco.
Ivanco said he welcomes the fact that a private company wants to invest in AECL. The society has said a private partner would bring better management skills to the company.
But he questioned the federal government’s decision to sell its entire stake.
“Our competition are giants,” he said.
France has just announced a huge new investment in its nuclear sector to reinforce safety in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, he said: “Our government’s walking away.”
“It’s 100 per essential” to have government backing on nuclear projects when making sales to foreign buyers, he said." Read more:
SNC will use AECL CANDU to target nuclear refurbishment work in Ontario and around the world and not developing new reactor technology... That means in 30 years there will be no reactor technology developed while the rest of the world will move forward!!! quite amazing, they bought it for a mere $15M and then they are going to make this much profit out of, still can't believe this is for real: "Sytchev said it's too early to speculate on potential revenue for SNC's power division. AECL's annual services revenue is about $130 million a year, while its reactor life extension work fluctuates between $180 million and $400 million." "Maxim Sytchev of Northland Capital Partners described the deal as allowing SNC to acquire AECL "at the best possible price."
Sytchev said the price, a small outlay for a company that has a $9-billion market cap, reflected the realities of SNC being the sole bidder, AECL's unprofitable past and the nuclear disaster in Japan."...  "SNC's primary goal is to capture low-risk refurbishment work instead of costly and risky new-build construction, he added.
"From SNC's perspective it's really a play on the installed based of (29) AECL reactors worldwide and that's where they're going to make the money."
Pierre Lacroix of Desjardins Securities thinks the financial impact of existing projects will be relatively limited. He expects SNC will aim to improve this money-losing business to a net margin initially of five per cent.
"Management will aim to expand the segment up to the level of the company's other businesses, taking into account the additional risk that it could encounter in such activities," Lacroix wrote in a report.
Lamarre said SNC's goal will be to raise margins on new projects from day one of its ownership.", read more:
SNC takes charge of Canada’s nuclear future: "After 60 years of operation and $21-billion invested, Ottawa is unloading Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.’s Candu business for a mere $15-million and future royalties. It will now up be to Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC-T 56.55 -0.09 -0.16%) to determine whether Canada will remain in the nuclear business, or whether the reactor division will be allowed to wither without a serious commitment to product development. " and "SNC says it plans to build the business but is narrowing the focus of the AECL commercial division. It will employ only 1,200 of the nearly 2,000 people who are now working in AECL’s commercial division. And employees fear that new reactor design, and ground-breaking work with China on new fuelling technology, will be lost, thereby jeopardizing the future opportunities."

CBC player: Future of AECL: And here where you could listen to Nycole Turmel of the NDP and Liberal Ted Hsu discussing the Conservative government's sale of AECL:
SNS press release: agreement signed to acquire AECL’s commercial reactor division by CANDU energy:
"CANDU Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX: SNC), is pleased to announce that it has agreed with the Government of Canada to acquire certain assets of Atomic Energy of Canada’s (AECL) commercial reactor division for a purchase price of $15 million and royalty payments from future new build and life extension projects. AECL will retain its past liabilities.

Approximately 1,200 employees are expected to be transitioned from AECL to CANDU Energy.

AECL is the Crown Corporation responsible for managing Canada’s nuclear energy research and development program. The commercial reactor division began developing the CANDU technology in the 1950s, and has built 34 reactors in seven countries. It has made a significant contribution to a key Canadian sector but in its current form, AECL was judged to be no longer sustainable. The privatization of AECL is an important turning point to allow for a new competitive business model, following years of challenges faced by AECL, and is an endeavour to keep alive the Canadian nuclear industry.

“This acquisition will require concerted and coordinated effort on the part of all stakeholders to work together. We will strive to make it a success both for the people who have built it, and for our shareholders,” said Patrick Lamarre, Executive Vice-President Global Power, SNC-Lavalin.

“The CANDU commercial reactor business will benefit greatly from SNC-Lavalin’s entrepreneurial capacity and global scale”, said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. “The transaction will place CANDU technology in proven, competent hands to be serviced and deployed in Canada and abroad, meeting energy needs and stimulating a supply chain located largely in Canada.”

The successful support and development of this technology is critical to sustaining Canada’s nuclear industry, which currently employs more than 30,000 workers in 150 companies across Canada. For CANDU Energy, the purchase of certain AECL assets means committing to preserving a homegrown, proven technology with good potential. CANDU Energy will focus on the new build, life extension and services product lines.

Lamarre continued, “Continuity and the quality of our services to the CANDU customer base are our top priorities going forward in Canada and internationally. With our expertise and experience in the nuclear sector, we believe that CANDU Energy will allow us to open new markets and capitalize on existing ones.”

CANDU Energy will work towards completing the Enhanced CANDU reactor (EC6) development program, with the support of the Government of Canada of up to $75 million. CANDU Energy will target new build projects in Ontario, Canada as well as in other countries around the world such as Jordan, Romania, Argentina, Turkey and China. The new company will also complete the remaining obligations under the ongoing life extension projects at Bruce Power, Wolsong, Point Lepreau and Gentilly-2 through subcontract service agreements with the Government of Canada.

The company will work hard to increase its share of the services business, on obtaining new life extension projects and additional scope on existing ones, and developing new build projects in order to build the CANDU Energy backlog.

The acquisition is expected to be finalized in early fall 2011, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions including Competition Act compliance and other administrative approvals.

SNC-Lavalin is one of the leading engineering and construction groups in the world and a major player in the ownership of infrastructure, and in the provision of operations and maintenance services. SNC-Lavalin has offices across Canada and in over 35 other countries around the world, and is currently working in some 100 countries. In business since 1911, the Company celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2011."

And here are links to the official announcements today from the government: "Over the last five years, AECL has received approximately $2.5 billion from the Government of Canada. This includes $1.2 billion for support and development of its commercial activities under the CANDU Reactor Division.
The Government of Canada’s support for AECL’s commercial activities has preserved value in the corporation and the potential for the future of the Canada’s CANDU-based nuclear industry." how is that ever equivalent to $15M??? and that is not including the taxpayers money over the past 50 years!!!! 

The key transaction agreement is an Asset Purchase Agreement (APA), which sets out the contractual terms for the sale and purchase of the assets of AECL’s CANDU Reactor Division. The suite of agreements that together constitute the Transaction Agreements includes the following series of ancillary agreements:
Intellectual Property Licence Agreement
EC6 Support Agreement
Five Life-Extension Project Subcontracts
Intercompany Services Agreement
Transition Services Term Sheet
Parent Guarantee
Pension Plans Participation Agreement
Asset Purchase AgreementThe APA is between AECL, CANDU Energy and SNC-Lavalin as CANDU Energy’s corporate parent.
The APA describes the assets purchased, which include substantially all the assets comprising CANDU Reactor Division’s three lines of business, with the exception of intellectual property (IP), which is being licensed rather than sold, and the ongoing life-extension projects.
AECL will retain all liabilities and obligations relating to pre-closing operations of the CANDU business, while CANDU Energy will take full responsibility for all new projects.
Upfront and Royalty Payments
The upfront payment will be made up of $15 million in cash on closing, with the potential for significant benefits through royalty payments if CANDU Energy is successful during a 15-year royalty period in securing new build and life extension projects.
Based on assumptions and analysis validated by external financial advisors, from these royalties as well as from the sale of its inventory of heavy water, the Government could realize a net present value in amount of about $285 million.
Ancillary Agreements
Intellectual Property Licence Agreement (IPLA)
The transaction grants CANDU Energy a perpetual licence to use the IP relating to the CANDU business. The licence is exclusive in the power reactor market.
Subject to non-compete obligations, AECL’s Nuclear Laboratories retains rights to continue to operate and provide services within a limited field of use, including: i) research, development and testing services to Canada and to the CANDU Owners Group, and ii) all services with respect to its own nuclear research facilities.
Enhanced CANDU 6 (EC 6) Support Agreement
This agreement, between AECL and CANDU Energy, sets out the terms of a one-time contribution by the Government of Canada to the development of the EC 6, up to an amount of $75 million. Government funding will be cost-shared 70/30 with CANDU Energy.
Life-Extension Project (LEP) Subcontract
AECL will have outstanding contractual obligations with regard to five life-extension project contracts, which will be subcontracted by AECL to CANDU Energy; and all other obligations will be retained by AECL.
CANDU Energy will be compensated for all remaining work in completing the various LEPs on the basis of an agreed-upon cost formula, which includes compensation for all direct costs, increased by negotiated mark-ups.
Intercompany Services
AECL Nuclear Laboratories will provide services, on a commercial basis, to CANDU Energy post-closing. The agreement is expected to generate revenue during its five-year term. AECL could be asked to provide various services including: Shielded Facilities, Reactor Chemistry and Systems Engineering.
Transition Services Agreement
A Transitional Services term sheet has been agreed to at signing, with a full agreement being entered into as a condition of closing, if still needed by then. The preferred scenario is to make both organizations autonomous by closing.
Parent Guarantee
CANDU Energy being a newly created subsidiary consisting primarily of the transferred assets from this transaction, its corporate parent, SNC-Lavalin, will be providing a parent guarantee to secure performance of key obligations of CANDU Energy in the transaction.
Pension Plans Participation Agreement
At closing, the Government of Canada and CANDU Energy will enter into a Pension Plans Participation Agreement, which will permit the transitioned employees to continue to contribute to their pension plans for a transitional period of up to three years, and will determine CANDU Energy’s obligations to make the employer’s contribution with respect to the pension plans.

In addition, the transitioned employees will be eligible, upon retirement, to opt for coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP), as is currently the case.
International Support
Natural Resources Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade confirm that CANDU Energy will have access to Government agencies and programs, as available to any Canadian exporter, in support of its international activities. Such requests will be assessed on merits on a case-by-case basis." 
"Government Funding for AECL Commercial Activities

Since 1952, with the creation of AECL as a Crown corporation, the Government of Canada has supported and invested in nuclear research and development and the establishment of a Canadian-made commercial nuclear reactor industry.

Over the last five years, AECL has received approximately $2.5 billion from the Government of Canada. This includes $1.2 billion for support and development of its commercial activities under the CANDU Reactor Division.
The Government of Canada’s support for AECL’s commercial activities has preserved value in the corporation and the potential for the future of the Canada’s CANDU-based nuclear industry.
Life-Extension Projects
In addition to the new reactor business, AECL also entered into the reactor life-extension business as of 2005, signing five contracts for life-extension projects in New Brunswick (Point Lepreau, 2005), Ontario (Bruce Units 1 and 2, 2005), South Korea (Wolsong Unit 1, 2006) and Quebec (Gentilly 2 – refurbishment and retubing, 2008).
The first life-extension projects encountered technical and schedule problems, resulting in increased costs for AECL. As its sole shareholder, the Government of Canada has provided substantial financial support to allow AECL to honour the contracts and complete its work on these projects.
Funding since 2005–06 to date for life-extension projects and other related commercial operational requirements has totalled $855 million.
New Reactor Development
The Government also continued to fund AECL’s reactor technology development projects. These new and advanced CANDU reactors include both the Advanced CANDU Reactor (ACR) and the Enhanced CANDU 6 (EC6).
Government funding for reactor development projects totalled $476 million since 2003–04.
Annex - AECL Funding since 1952 (in as-spent dollars)
And finally this is the breakdown of the government investment on AECL and Candu division, straight from the horse's mouth:
A total amount of $1.6B for Candu and then sell it for $15M!!! I wonder how much this is the result of how they pitch the sale from the beginning, two years ago Harper spokesman referred to aecl as "AECL a $30B `sinkhole'": ... well it is true that the government spent ~$20B over 60 years on aecl to make Canada the leader in nuclear power science and technology, but $20B is a negligible amount when compared to the billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs investment in aecl has generated for Canada over the same time period... what does the sale of CANDU Inc does: puts country's nuclear energy at risk, no one can predict how the private company could run and flourish the technology it is buying (looking at the large government supports in other countries, not too difficult to predict the outcome), throws out one of significant and successful scientific achievements Canada has had, the return on the investment over the past 60 years (taxpayer’s money) is lost, and let us not forget that the skilled workers that will be laid off and most likely leave Canada… and all of that for what? $15M and costs cuts???!!! Well there are things that require government investments and support, end of story!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Announcement for the AECL Candu Inc sale may be imminent

Is the the announcement for the sale of AECL Candu Inc imminent? it seems that way... It is quite amazing that this is going through with no real national dialogue/debate...even though the sale it may happen as early as this week, Ontario wants Fed gvnt to bear part of the financial risk of potential cost overruns on building new reactors in Ontario... “One of Canada’s largest Crown corporations is slated to be sold off in a single-bidder deal conducted in total secrecy,” natural resources critic Nathan Cullen said in a statement. “Canadians are rightly worried about getting their money’s worth.”  Read more:
This the the same story on the announcement of the sale on CBC... this one quotes Peter White, the head of the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates union that represents AECL workers, saying that "he has not received word of any deal, but did say that management have asked for a meeting with union leaders on Wednesday. "Somebody from AECL wants to talk tomorrow so that tells me something's going on," White said." Read more:
and this is the report on G&M that started the frenzy of the rumors on the sale today:  "Critics say putting AECL into private hands could leave the nuclear company starved for resources and unable to compete effectively with global giants in the industry without federal subsidies. They fear AECL will be slimmed down and largely operate to service and refurbish existing reactors because SNC-Lavalin will try to avoid risk by reducing spending on research and development and new generation reactors.
The ambitious goal of building new generation reactors is crucial to the company’s future; no company can survive long on yesterday’s technology." Read more:
 and finally AECL might still have some value, guess what: SNC-Lavalin shares rise following AECL report: 
And you know it is a big news day here in Canada when the news story make it to huffingtonpost:
And this one in Reuters: "Little is known about SNC's bid, including the price, although analysts expect the company's offer to be modest, especially in the wake of negative sentiment globally toward nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster.
SNC's bid is likely to give no value to AECL's reactor-building business and only price in its refurbishment operations, Northland NCP analyst Maxim Sytchev said.
"While the timing of AECL's acquisition is not ideal in the context of anti-nuclear sentiment, we believe that the asset will be priced to reflect the current reality," Sytchev said in an email to clients." read more:
 ... and no nuclear power company could have a long and bright future without a research reactor that could support its research and developments... lets not forget that a new research reactor could also be used for other purposes such as neutron scattering and isotope production... like NRU has done for the past 50 years!

Monday, 27 June 2011

France to Boost Work on Nuclear Safety

Investing more in nuclear-safety and development seems to be a better move forward than shutting down a proved and environmentally-friendly technology that Germany has chosen. Source Wall Street Journal: "France will invest a total of €1 billion, or roughly $1.5 billion, in nuclear technology as the government bolsters its energy industry in the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan, Mr. Sarkozy said at a news conference Monday. The sum includes funding for a new generation of power plants and research on nuclear safety,"There is no alternative to nuclear power today." Mr. Sarkozy said. "Those who ask for a moratorium—I find this curious. It would consist in keeping old plants and abstaining from researching new safer plants."" Read more:

Nuclear development in Saskatchewan

A great resource for anyone interested in nuclear developments in Saskatchewan:

Thursday, 23 June 2011

It’s time to refocus the restructuring of AECL

This is another must read: a special article published in Globe&Mail written by Don MacKinnon, President, Power Workers’ Union in Canada: We need a national debate/discussion involving all interested parties from scientists to students to industry to address all these issues raised in the article, where is that debate??? "In developing a nuclear industry strategy, Canada should address critical questions such as: the ongoing role of government; the role of nuclear electricity generation in Canada; the fate of AECL’s intellectual property; foreign ownership; and benefits vs. liabilities."... read more:

Restructuring/privetization of aecl continues to drag on

This is a must read, couldn't agree more with the points: aecl privatization has taken long while the company ordered not to sign new contracts, as well as the need to establish an independent Scientific Research Agency which doesn't depend or benefit from one governing party or another, an agency that could provide vision, direction, coordinate research among different organizations and draw resources/funding with a new research reactor that will be maintained and available for scientists across the country to use.... read more:

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The German government ending nuclear energy power plants: not a done deal yet!!!

Energy companies claim Berlin's plans are unconstitutional and will sue the government for compensation! "The fear of huge financial handouts could make Berlin reconsider a bid to make Germany the first major industrial power to ditch nuclear energy that has already come under widespread attack. Critics argue that by killing atomic power Germany will just have to burn more fossil fuels and import nuclear energy from neighbouring countries." So is it OK to get nuclear power from neighbours but just not to produce it in Germany, what happened to the global village concept??? Read more:

Monday, 20 June 2011

Don't give up on AECL

A must read! the author argues: "In a post-Fukushima world, the ideal opportunity exists for Canada to regain its competitive position in the global nuclear industry. The recently elected federal majority government must exercise leadership now to fully leverage Canada's present nuclear advantage.
That advantage rests with Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL), the arms-length federal corporation, which possesses a highly successful CANDU reactor technology. Beyond the myriad other benefits CANDU technology offers, if this technology had been present in the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, much, if not most of the disaster following the earthquake and tsunami could have been averted. 
Unfortunately, since 2007, the federal government has let AECL's restructuring and potential sale languish. The delay in decisions on this file has created uncertainty in the global nuclear marketplace about the future of CANDU reactor technology. At risk is Canada's $6.5-billion-a-year nuclear industry, employing more than 70,000 people in direct and indirect industry jobs, and generating more than $1.5 billion in federal and provincial tax revenue. All this, at the time when the world has no choice but to focus on using greener technologies like nuclear, and perhaps more importantly, when the global nuclear industry is taking a serious look at the risks posed by the nuclear technology used by Japan and many other countries around the world." read more:

Thursday, 16 June 2011

NRU is back to service, a great video update on inspections performed during the planned 33-day shutdown last month:

NRU is back to service after the planned 33-day shutdown! once again neutrons have returned to Canada!!! :) learn more about what was done/learned from the inspections during the shutdown:

Feds to slash funding for Atomic Energy Canada

Will there be additional supplements later on to make up for the apparent 80% cut? or even with those there will still be a significant 30% cuts to AECL budget this year? Read more:

Thursday, 9 June 2011

NRU Status Report #05 just released,

NRU on track to be restarted up on June 17, It is good to see that AECLis trying to avoid project creep and is intending to restart it on the planned date of June 17, some details of the work being done: ‎"AECL has inspected two areas of the reactor vessel. Preliminary results of the examinations indicate that there has been no change in the vessel wall thickness since completion of the repair work last year and no pitting corrosion is taking place. Results also confirm the welds applied during the repair last year continue to be sound. The final set of inspections of a third area of the reactor is nearing completion. " and

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Canada's Nuclear History

If you want to learn more about rich history of Canada’s nuclear R&D, this is a great link for you! An excellent interactive website created by Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission covering "the story of the people involved in these nuclear activities and in developing the safe use of nuclear substances. It’s also the story of many “firsts” for Canada in the world." Check out:

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration Minister Rob Norris to address Canadian Nuclear Society annual conference

Interesting, he is "is also Minister responsible for SaskPower and Minister responsible for Innovation, will provide an overview of the recently announced Centre for Research in Nuclear Medicine and Materials Science at the University of Saskatchewan. The province is investing $30 million over seven years in the new centre, which will make Saskatchewan the focal point for nuclear research and development in Western Canada."

Sunday, 5 June 2011

NRU status update released on June 2:

NRU is still planned to be re-started on July 17: "AECL has finished inspecting one of the repair sites and a second site inspection is now in progress. Final results of the first inspection, and preliminary results of the second, indicate that the welds applied during the repair last year are sound and there has been no change in the thickness of the NRU vessel wall. The data also confirms that no pitting corrosion is taking place.
The inspection equipment being used to conduct the examination is custom built to be used in a reactor that is fueled and filled with heavy water. AECL is experiencing impediments in deploying some of the inspection equipment. As a result, AECL will defer some of the scope of this outage to planned outages in July and August. The NRU will return to service on June 17, 2011 as planned."