Wednesday, June 29, 2011

$15 million for AECL

"Ottawa sells AECL to SNC-Lavalin."
The federal government is selling Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.’s Candu division for $15-million and future royalties, after pouring billions of dollars into the troubled nuclear company to get it ready for privatization.
$15 million. Jaw dropping. Just wow. A Harper legacy for the ages. This sale was troubled way before the Japan situation. See Teneycke, Kory, for just one example.

Looks like job losses in the works, SNC is keeping 1,200 of the 2,000 AECL commercial employees, according to the report.

Most significantly, there doesn't seem to be any word on what the federal government is prepared to do in terms of financial guarantees on Ontario's plans to add to the Darlington nuclear plant, which both the Liberal government and the provincial PCs support (the NDP are taking a "not right now" stance on that although they seem to hedge as well in their platform). Sounds like SNC wants nothing to do with such guarantees and that's not surprising, they don't have that capability. Looks like it's going to be an issue in Ontario in the coming electorally significant months and its notable that it's been left out of the equation at the moment.

Update (6:40 p.m.): On the job situation, from Canadian Press: "...SNC-Lavalin is creating a new division called Candu Energy that will house AECL's three former business lines. About 1,200 AECL employees will move to Candu Energy, less than a quarter of the 5,000 workers the Crown company employs."

Further, this is attributed to the Natural Resources minister, on the prospective Ontario nuclear purchases: "Oliver said Ottawa won't be responsible for any cost overruns if Ontario moves ahead with new nuclear power stations." Huge for Ontario.