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Archive for March, 2011

Media Bias Continues

Thursday, March 31, 2011 @ 08:03 AM

More of the same for this election.  Is anyone following CBC’s  horribly biased accounts of this election? No wonder people don’t want to vote!

- Marc Kealey
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Media missing the mark.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 @ 09:03 AM

It’s several days into the election and the media are still harping on the same issues of who said what several years ago –  it’s  clear that no message is going to catch on because the media only want to concentrate on  who thinks who is a liar!  This is shameful!

- Marc Kealey
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Interesting article in the Toronto Star:

http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/410418

Federally owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is no longer pursuing the sale of its next-generation nuclear reactor in the United Kingdom, announcing yesterday it will focus its energy on capturing business at home.

Some industry critics said AECL, which says it has spent “less than $10 million” trying to snag a purchase from the U.K., is trying to soften the blow of a certain loss and how it might be perceived as it bids for contracts in Canada.

“Why let it blow up later when you can back out now and save some face?” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, who closely follows the nuclear power sector for Greenpeace Canada.

Less than two weeks ago, Mississauga-based AECL announced that its Advanced Candu Reactor made it onto a short list of four reactor designs approved by the U.K. nuclear regulator, which said it found no safety or security shortfalls serious enough to rule out the Canadian design. The short list also included Areva NP, Westinghouse Electric Co. and GE Nuclear – the same companies currently being considered for a new reactor in Ontario.

At the time, the U.K. government said it would whittle the list to three designs sometime in May. Sources say the regulator sent letters to all the U.K. utilities asking them to rank the designs they preferred. Their responses still left AECL on the bottom of the list.

Hugh MacDiarmid, AECL’s president and chief executive officer, told the Toronto Star that a business decision had to be made.

“We’ve been very carefully evaluating our realistic prospects over there. How much money is it going to cost us to go through step three, how much time, and without any commitment at the end of that?” he said. “Our sense was that we were unlikely to get the blue ribbon this time around, because we didn’t have the demonstration project under way here in our home country.”

MacDiarmid said the U.K. plans to build several new reactors and that AECL intends to participate in subsequent rounds, once it has proven itself in Canada.

With three opportunities to sell in Canada – in Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta – the Crown corporation didn’t want to spread itself too thin, he added.

“I’m a real believer in having a core mission in life, and I believe AECL’s core mission is to be the supplier of choice to the Canadian electrical utility market. Everything else has to be secondary to that.”

Marc Kealey, an international energy consultant and former general manager at AECL, said the company made the right decision. The Canadian government, ultimately responsible as AECL’s owner, is better off backstopping a new nuclear project on its home turf than taking on huge financial risk in a foreign market, he said.

Even with a contract in Canada, Kealey added that AECL and its Candu technology face an uphill battle in overseas markets, dominated by the pressurized-water reactor technology used by Areva and Westinghouse.

Much of AECL’s efforts are focused on Ontario. The province expects to make a decision on reactor technology, and where the new plant will be built, by year end.

- Marc Kealey
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Election Day 3

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 @ 11:03 AM

We’re at day 3 of the election and nobody seems to want to talk about substance.  Layton is wrong, Ottawa is NOT broken, our political parties seem to be during this election.  Doesn’t anyone have anything substantive to say?

- Marc Kealey
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Well done political parties!

Monday, March 28, 2011 @ 09:03 AM

Why in heaven’s name have we descended this election into a case of who’s REALLY going to form a coalition!  Can the media start asking WHAT these guys stand for?

What a ridiculous start to what should be one of the more important elections we’ll face in a long while.  WHO frigging cares about who said what in 2004!  Can’t the media start asking real questions about what these Parties vying to be government will do on issues like: Arctic Sovreignty,  Canada’s role in nuclear power generation, a greener environment, getting us out of the economic hole we’re in.

My non-political friends are telling me that no one seems to be attractive to them –  they’re feeling frustrated and may NOT vote.  Well done political parties!

- Marc Kealey
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AECL abandons effort to sell U.K. reactor

Monday, March 28, 2011 @ 08:03 AM

From the Toronto Star:

Federally owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is no longer pursuing the sale of its next-generation nuclear reactor in the United Kingdom, announcing yesterday it will focus its energy on capturing business at home.

Some industry critics said AECL, which says it has spent “less than $10 million” trying to snag a purchase from the U.K., is trying to soften the blow of a certain loss and how it might be perceived as it bids for contracts in Canada.

“Why let it blow up later when you can back out now and save some face?” said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, who closely follows the nuclear power sector for Greenpeace Canada.

Less than two weeks ago, Mississauga-based AECL announced that its Advanced Candu Reactor made it onto a short list of four reactor designs approved by the U.K. nuclear regulator, which said it found no safety or security shortfalls serious enough to rule out the Canadian design. The short list also included Areva NP, Westinghouse Electric Co. and GE Nuclear – the same companies currently being considered for a new reactor in Ontario.

At the time, the U.K. government said it would whittle the list to three designs sometime in May. Sources say the regulator sent letters to all the U.K. utilities asking them to rank the designs they preferred. Their responses still left AECL on the bottom of the list.

Hugh MacDiarmid, AECL’s president and chief executive officer, told the Toronto Star that a business decision had to be made.

“We’ve been very carefully evaluating our realistic prospects over there. How much money is it going to cost us to go through step three, how much time, and without any commitment at the end of that?” he said. “Our sense was that we were unlikely to get the blue ribbon this time around, because we didn’t have the demonstration project under way here in our home country.”

MacDiarmid said the U.K. plans to build several new reactors and that AECL intends to participate in subsequent rounds, once it has proven itself in Canada.

With three opportunities to sell in Canada – in Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta – the Crown corporation didn’t want to spread itself too thin, he added.

“I’m a real believer in having a core mission in life, and I believe AECL’s core mission is to be the supplier of choice to the Canadian electrical utility market. Everything else has to be secondary to that.”

Marc Kealey, an international energy consultant and former general manager at AECL, said the company made the right decision. The Canadian government, ultimately responsible as AECL’s owner, is better off backstopping a new nuclear project on its home turf than taking on huge financial risk in a foreign market, he said.

Even with a contract in Canada, Kealey added that AECL and its Candu technology face an uphill battle in overseas markets, dominated by the pressurized-water reactor technology used by Areva and Westinghouse.

Much of AECL’s efforts are focused on Ontario. The province expects to make a decision on reactor technology, and where the new plant will be built, by year end.

http://www.thestar.com/Business/article/410418

 

- Marc Kealey
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Federal Election Update

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 @ 04:03 PM

Today federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty confirmed that the federal government will table its latest budget on March 22, 2011.

The minority Conservative government must gain the support of at least one of the three opposition parties for the budget to pass. If the government is unsuccessful in passing the budget, the government will fall as it will have “lost the confidence of the House”.

Currently both the opposition Liberals and Bloc have indicated they will not support the budget. The Liberals sticking point is the issue of continuing corporate tax cuts which they oppose at this time. The Bloc under Duceppe has indicated that they could support the budget if $2 billion in HST compensation was included. It is somewhat unlikely that this will occur although “discussions are ongoing”.

This leaves the fate of the current government in the hands of Jack Layton and the NDP.  The NDP has asked the Conservative government for four measures in the budget:

  1. Remove the HST from home heating bills and restore the EcoEnergy Retrofit program.
  2. Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement  for low-income seniors
  3. Expand & strengthen the Canada Pension Plan
  4. Increase the number of family doctors (5 million Canadians do not have access a family doctor)

 

Following the budget being tabled on March 22, there will be a vote in the House. If all three parties vote against the budget (vote to be held within the week following the budget) then the government will be defeated.

A likely Election Day is May 02, 2011.

Recent polls have the Conservatives on the edge of majority territory. Harper’s Conservatives have polled in the high 30’s through much of February, and in the most recent poll (yesterday) Conservative support is pegged at 43%.

The recent surge in Conservative support has occurred over the last few weeks so there is some debate regarding the “depth” and “staying power” of this level of support.

New seat projections have averaged the last few polls and show seat gains for both the governing Conservatives (+9), the Bloc (+5) and declines for both the NDP (-5) and Liberals (-4) from their current seat totals.

The Conservatives remain just shy of a majority under this model.

The question is whether or not the PM wants to roll the dice on a majority. This is likely his last chance to show the Conservative base that he can deliver. If he falls short, the leadership race will commence soon after.

However, if the polls are solid, the PM has never been this close before. It may prove too tempting to resist and if that is the case, the government will not work with the NDP or Bloc and will in fact engineer its own defeat.

Over the next few weeks, watch the polls and not Jack or Gilles…it really won’t be their call!

- Marc Kealey
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