OSEA Calls for Ontario to Sanction CANDU Nuclear Reactors

By Paul Gipe

In a hard-hitting letter to all members of Ontario’s Provincial Parliament, the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA) has called for legislative sanctions against SNC-Lavalin and their CANDU reactor division.

OSEA’s action follows sanctions against the SNC-Lavalin and its CANDU nuclear reactors by the World Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The World Bank has suspended SNC-Lavalin’s right to bid on and be awarded World Bank Group financed projects for 10 years.

SNC-Lavalin took control of the CANDU technology from the Canadian government’s Atomic Energy Canada Ltd (AECL) and recently won a $600 million no-bid contract to study the refurbishment of the CANDU reactors at the Darlington complex on Lake Ontario.

The Quebec-based company has been embroiled in a bribery scandal in Bangladesh. The scandal has tarnished Canada’s squeaky-clean image internationally and dropped the country to sixth place in Transparency International’s index.

The province has said in the past that it wants to build two new reactors at Darlington. All current reactors in Ontario are CANDU designs.

OSEA notes that Ontario will soon begin revision of its long-term procurement plan for new generation and says that no action on nuclear refurbishment or commitments for new reactors should be made until the plan has been submitted.

The most recent refurbishment of a CANDU reactor, Point Lepreau, was three years late and cost $1 billion more than budgeted.

OSEA said that “Powering Ontario without Darlington and Pickering would place Ontario on a growing list of jurisdictions proactively pursuing smart distributed energy options that enable individuals, businesses and communities to be contributors to a more collaborative, transparent and sustainable energy system while exiting the old nuclear paradigm and its associated fiscal and safety risks.”