Ottawa spends $200 million more on AECL

OTTAWA, CANADA - The federal government is throwing another $200 million at Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to cover more cost overruns related to CANDU refurbishment projects.

Ottawa disclosed the amount in a supplementary budget estimate.

The funding, according to the document, "will be used to address a cash shortfall caused by unexpected technical challenges on CANDU reactor refurbishment contracts.


It's the same explanation given in February, when $100 million was allocated to cover overruns. The same month, the federal budget earmarked $351 million to federally owned Atomic Energy so it could continue design work on its Advanced CANDU Reactor and conduct repairs of the troubled Chalk River research reactor.

"That's a total subsidy for AECL in 2009 of $651 million so far," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil of the anti-nuclear environmental group Greenpeace.

"It's telling, when you consider the federal government isn't likely to fetch more than $300 million for AECL as part of its privatization efforts."

Atomic Energy's two refurbishment projects in Canada – the restart of two Bruce Power reactors northwest of Toronto and the overhaul of the Pointe Lepreau plant in New Brunswick – are over budget and delayed.


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