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Posts Tagged ‘AECL’

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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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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Nuclear Power and Partnership with India

Wednesday, November 3, 2010 @ 05:11 PM

His Excellency Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam visited Canada on a remarkable 4 day visit to Toronto and Vancouver to deliver a series of lectures on green energy and the green economy.  I was invited as a guest to a small gathering at the Albany Club in Toronto.

For those of us avid observers of politics, we know greatness is born from folklore and the test of time. But you have to step a back a bit from that kind of cynicism and ponder the greatness of President Kalam. Born in abject poverty in India, as a boy he would run outside under a street lamp to read books because he lived in a small home that had no electricity.  It was in this manner that he studied nuclear science and became one of the world’s foremost experts on the peaceful use of nuclear power.  His vision for energy use and its application globally prompted innovative thinking that could, in effect, harness the sun’s power to create energy for the world based on solar panels on the moon.  It is this kind of thinking, among his many other innovations, that have made him as powerful in the world of science as the Dalai Lama is to his faith.

Dr. Kalam is selling the concept of partnership in business with India, soon to be one of the world’s most dominant business partners.  With a hunger and need for about 30,000 megawatts of power in the coming decade, partnership is the only option for this emerging market.

Canada is a natural partner with India.  We have the Commonwealth to thank for that.

Dr. Kalam and I had a comprehensive discussion on nuclear energy.  Having been an executive at AECL at the beginning of this millennium, I know that Canada’s innovation in heavy water reactors and their ability to burn Thorium is well known to the energy starving India.  Exploiting CANDU technology in India is a role that the government of Canada can and should start to accelerate – the PM started this process at the G20 Summit.  However, at a recent event at my home with a senior Cabinet Minister in Harper’s government, I was advised that AECL will definitely be put on the blocks despite our attempts to stop that kind of madness.  Giving up on AECL, such as is being considered by the government and with no interest from an ineffective opposition on the matter in the House of Commons is one of the second greatest missed opportunities in Canada just behind the Avro Arrow.

The President was so keenly interested in the opportunity to discuss the use of Thorium and the possibility of recycling  spent nuclear fuel in reactors that he has invited me to India in 2011. I am taking him up on his offer.

I will report back on my return.

- Marc Kealey
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