TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 06/29/09 -- Note to editor: Dr. Michael Ivanco is available for comment today
This morning's announcement by the Government of Ontario to suspend the competitive RFP to procure two replacement nuclear reactors at Darlington is a major setback for the Canadian nuclear industry and will cost Ontario jobs and future opportunities, according to the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA).
"The decision to suspend the nuclear project will have ripples across the industry and will likely result in more job losses in the manufacturing sector and amongst technology workers. Key teams were assembled for this project and we are concerned those teams may disband, resulting in a loss of institutional knowledge that is vital for the success of the project," said Dr. Michael Ivanco, Vice President of SPEA. "For the domestic industry, a major delay, such as this one, can be as bad as losing out in the bidding process, making us ultimately dependent on the foreign suppliers that AECL appears to have won out over."
In a press conference today, Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman indicated that only Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) met the criteria set out in an exhaustive RFP process. However, the government is concerned about 'pricing and uncertainty regarding AECL's future.' The decision will mean that AECL now has no new domestic customers for its ACR-1000 design, the next generation of CANDU reactors.
"The federal government has created tremendous instability that no doubt affected the Government of Ontario's decision today," Ivanco said. "The decision to breakup AECL and look for a private partner or investor was announced a few weeks ago and sent a message that the Government of Canada does not have confidence in AECL.
"As the scientists and engineers of AECL we know what a world leader the company is and what potential it holds for Canadians," said Ivanco. "We need the Government of Canada to complete the reorganization quickly while maintaining majority control of the company. AECL has demonstrated that it has the technical capability of delivering a winning bid for Ontario. Now we need to remove this impediment and quickly negotiate a contract to build this project."
With a recession devastating Ontario's manufacturing and construction industry, this project would have created thousands of well-paying jobs in hard hit communities such as Oshawa. "Suspending this project may increase the cost to taxpayers down the road as interest rates are at an all time low and the cost of borrowing will only go up," Ivanco said.
For more information about SPEA, please visit: www.spea.ca
About the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates
The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) is an independent union and represents engineers and scientists who work for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL). With over 900 members, over half of who have advanced university degrees, SPEA members are engineers of every type (civil, mechanical, electrical etc.) as well as scientists and MBAs. Collectively SPEA represent most of Canada's nuclear power reactor design expertise.
Society of Professional Engineers and Associates