Saturday, December 19, 2009

CANDU reactor division for sale by government

Surely this is the role of government to provide opportunities for private enterprise after socialising the costs of development of the technology under state ownership. Even the Liberals do not disagree. They just want to ensure tfhat the capital is Canadian! The Liberal government in Ontario is actually doing the same thing but with corporations that are winners the LCBO and the Lotteries. It is just a shame that profitable businesses should help out the bottom line of the government rather than of the private capital that supports the two main parties.

Ottawa puts CANDU reactor division up for sale

Natural Resources minister confirms government is inviting investors to submit bids, move won't affect Chalk River facility
•Ottawa and Toronto — Globe and Mail Update

.Stephen Harper travelled the world pitching Canada's “state-of-the-art” – and state-owned – nuclear reactor technology, but finding no takers at home or abroad and facing record budget deficits, the Prime Minister is selling off the Crown-owned CANDUs.

The Harper government confirmed Thursday it is calling for bids on the reactor-wing of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

With interest coming from a mix of foreign and domestic firms, opposition critics say they're concerned technology created at public expense is at risk of leaving the country.

“They're going to be selling Canadian know-how and intellectual property, probably to a foreign bidder, at bargain-basement prices,” said Liberal MP Geoff Regan. The MP compared the sell-off to the mysterious cancellation of Canada's iconic fighter jet program in 1959.

“We're concerned that this is effectively Canada's new Avro Arrow,” he said.

The sale won't include the research wing of the Crown corporation – namely the Chalk River nuclear facility that produced most of the word's medical isotopes until it was shut down for repairs earlier this year.

The government will also retain responsibility for storing nuclear waste.

Sources close to the industry say it is likely an international competitor such as Paris-based Areva or U.S.-based Westinghouse will want the CANDU side of AECL.

“The real asset is what might be called its human capital,” said one source, who spoke on condition of not being identified.

With the dispersal of Nortel's work force, AECL arguably possesses the most highly educated workers in Canada.

No comments: