TORONTO, May 28 /CNW/ - Today's announcement by Lisa Raitt, Federal
Minister of Natural Resources, regarding plans to restructure Atomic Energy of
Canada Limited, (AECL) and its Chalk River Facility highlights expanded
benefits for Canada, the Power Workers' Union says.
"Canada's world class CANDU nuclear technology creates tens of thousands
of jobs and billions in economic spin-offs as well as supporting research and
development at Canadian universities," said the union's President Don
MacKinnon "Whatever the final decision, it must secure maximum employment and
revenue for Canadians."
Restructuring AECL could provide an improved focus on Canada's vital
medical radio-isotope production as well as nuclear electricity generation.
"CANDU technology is up against some tough global competition and that
there is a lot at stake. Strengthening AECL will ensure benefits for Canadian
workers and an expanded role as a global nuclear technology leader," MacKinnon
Ontario is the centre of Canada's $5 billion a year nuclear industry and
hosts more than 100 manufacturing companies in the CANDU supply chain as well
as the majority of the industry's 30,000 direct jobs. According to the
Canadian Energy Research Institute and the Conference Board of Canada,
building additional CANDU reactors here and selling more abroad means hundreds
of thousands of new high-skilled, high paying jobs.
For more than 45 years, CANDU reactors have safely generated
emission-free, affordable electricity for Canadian homes and businesses. More
than 50 per cent of Ontario's electricity is provided by CANDU plants 24 hours
a day - 7 days a week. AECL has also successfully built CANDU reactors on time
and on budget around the world. Currently, ten percent of international
nuclear generation has been supplied and constructed by AECL.
"Our highly skilled and dedicated CANDU workforce has helped achieve
Canada's role as a nuclear technology leader," said MacKinnon. "They have
pride in what they have accomplished and look forward to making this
technology even better."
New nuclear reactors are being considered for Ontario, New Brunswick,
Alberta and Saskatchewan. Even though Ontario's current electricity demand
picture is down, due in large part to the recession and the struggling
manufacturing sector, Ontario needs to take a longer term view of the
province's future electricity needs, MacKinnon noted.
Demand is expected to increase in the future as the current recession
ends; Ontario's population increases; and from the electrification of the
"It takes 10 to 12 years to approve and build new nuclear generation in
Ontario," stated MacKinnon. "Ontario can't afford to hang its future
competitiveness and energy security on high cost natural gas and electricity
imports, intermittent renewables and uncertain conservation outcomes. Ontario
and Canada need a solid future for AECL."
The Power Workers' Union is the largest electricity union in Ontario,
representing employees in electricity generation, transmission, distribution,
regulations, and research and development.
For further information:
For further information: John Sprackett, Power Workers' Union, (416)
322-4787, firstname.lastname@example.org; Tonique Harry, Media Profile, (416) 504-8464,