Saturday, March 20, 2010

Is CANDU a Success Story?

Re: Time to rethink AECL's meltdown, Tom Adams, Feb. 26

After reading Tom Adams' dismal portrayal of AECL and CANDU, I felt compelled to respond to your readers with a different perspective.

Having come from the U.S. nuclear industry, I am new to Canada and new to AECL as its chief technology officer. I joined after a great deal of careful investigation of the company I was being asked to join.

Although I was well aware of the international reputation for safety, performance and reliability CANDU has earned, I knew less about AECL itself, other than a reputation for its critical mass of technical talent and leadership.

Contrary to Mr. Adams' assertions, upon closer inspection I found that AECL is a public policy success story of which all Canadians can be proud.

Since being incorporated in 1952, AECL has received almost $8-billion in funding from the Government of Canada. This in turn has generated more than $160-billion in GDP benefit from the production of electricity, leading-edge research and development, international sales of CANDU plants, uranium mining and refining, medical radioisotopes and a wide range of professional services.

The window of opportunity is here. More than 200 reactors are planned to be built in the next 20 years and Canada is already in discussion with potential customers like China, Argentina, India, Jordan, Romania and other Eastern European countries who see the advantages of CANDU for their country.

Dr. Anthony De Vuono, senior vice-president and chief technology officer, AECL, Mississauga, Ont.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sir, I worked in the manufacturing side of the industry some 30 years ago. I left the job because I did not want to support the CANDU effort. No CANDU reactor has ever been built on budget or on time. Cost over-runs of 300% are typical. It is an overly-expensive way to boil water.

Further, there have been so few sales since the end of the 1970s, the critical mass of experienced workers has retired and many of those companies have been absorbed by one company, SNC-Lavalin.

Finally, has the problem of Zircalloy tubing cracking been really solved? I understand it has not.

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