Bids under review for new nuclear plant

CLARINGTON, ONTARIO - A new nuclear power plant at the Darlington facility is moving ahead as planned, even as the federal government plans to restructure and possibly sell some of its stake in Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., Deputy Premier George Smitherman told the National Post editorial board.

The Ontario government is reviewing bids for a new nuclear power plant near Clarington, about 70 kilometres east of Toronto. The Crown corporation, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL), is one of three bidders for the project.

On May 28, the federal government released the results of a two-year long review into the future of AECL, which recommended the company be restructured.

Mr. Smitherman said he has been in contact with federal Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt, who assured him AECL is still in the bidding process.

Mr. Smitherman, who is also the Ontario Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said Ontario is AECL's largest client and he is happy to see the federal government taking an interest in the company that supplies Ontario with nuclear reactors.

"As AECL's historic big client... any time the government of Canada is showing a level of interest, we see that as a good thing," Mr. Smitherman said. "There are times in the history of AECL where the government has shown very little interest."

According to the environmental assessment of the Darlington site, reactor construction is supposed to begin in 2010, with the first two of four reactors running by 2016.

This approach will allow the province to have reactors at different ages, so maintenance can be staggered.

"What we're looking for is to have a nuclear fleet," Mr. Smitherman said.

The other two companies bidding for the Darlington project are Paris-based AREVA NP and Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, which has its headquarters in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Smitherman could not say when the contract would be awarded.


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