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Nuclear Industry Needs Clarity On AECL Restructuring For Continued Growth

Thousands of jobs and billions in revenues at risk unless federal politicians take action. Canada’s $6.5 billion a year nuclear industry, and more than 70,000 people working in direct and indirect industry jobs, could be in jeopardy if federal politicians continue to delay decisions about the restructuring of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). The Organization of CANDU Industries (OCI) is calling for clarity on AECL so the industry can get back on track and capitalize on domestic and international opportunities in the growing nuclear power sector.

The thousands of men and women working in Canada’s nuclear industry have been waiting since 2007 for the federal government to finalize plans for the restructuring of AECL. The delay in decisions has created uncertainty in the marketplace about the future of Canada’s highly successful CANDU reactor technology, which has created serious problems for Canada’s nuclear industry supply chain. The uncertainty has also caused the Ontario government to delay decisions about CANDU technology for the two new reactors planned for the Darlington site.

“Now that the federal election is completed and politicians are going to be getting back to work, we are calling on all federal politicians to work together to help Canada’s nuclear industry regain its competitive position,” says Organization of CANDU Industries General Manager, David Marinacci. “The men and women working in Canada’s nuclear industry urgently need decisions about AECL so we can capitalize on the domestic and international opportunities.”

“The Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce (GOCC) couldn’t agree more” stated Chamber CEO Bob Malcolmson.  “While there may be valid reasons for the Federal government to conduct a review of AECL, the mandate and the lack of urgency in the time frame of this review have further exacerbated the problems created by Ontario’s delay.”

It is incongruous to the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce that both the Federal and Ontario governments could put at risk Canada’s future in such a vital industry that will secure a safe, secure and environmentally sound supply of energy to Canada and the world for the next century. Both the Federal and Ontario governments must recognize that the world and its economies operate in “real time” and that in the 21st century “real time” is measured in days, weeks and months, NOT YEARS!!

Canada has been building reactors around the world almost continuously since the 1980s. This steady pipeline of business has kept our nuclear supply chain companies vibrant and fully mobilized. The strength of the Canadian supply chain is a considerable asset that will help ensure international contracts for CANDU technology.

The Canadian nuclear industry is a  $6.5 billion a year industry, generating  more than $1.5 billion in federal and provincial revenues through taxes, and more than 70,000 direct, indirect and spin-off jobs. The Canadian Energy Research Institute (CERI) recently reported that Canada’s exports of nuclear related materials and services totalled approximately $1.2 billion in 2008.