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Serial offenders: Darlington already over budget July 9, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in AECL, nuclear.
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One of the major problems for AECL and their customers was their complete inability to budget their designs. Every single reactor installed has gone over, and every refurb has too.

And so now it is with no great surprise that we learn that the Darlington refurb hasn’t even started, and it’s already $300 million over budget. Well, at least according to two 3rd party firms contracted to oversee the work, OPG says it’s “only” $235 million.

Seven more years to go…

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Darlington B nuclear plant cancelled October 11, 2013

Posted by Maury Markowitz in AECL, nuclear.
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The Darlington power plant

Darlington as it is and will ever be

I missed it when it first came over the wire, but last night Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli announced that the Darlington B project is dead. As the only ongoing development project in Canada, this represents a sort of mid-life point for nuclear power in the country.

Although Chiarelli didn’t close the door on re-examining the decision in the future, given the history of similar decisions around the world is that this is basically that. Vogtle may prove to hold the unlikely banner as last nuclear plant built in North America.

It’s interesting to read the few news reports that covered this. In Durham Region, home to Pickering and Darlington, the news was presented in a surprisingly neutral light, referring mostly to the governments oft-announced plans to keep nuclear around 50% of the energy mix. In the Owen Sound area, home to the Bruce plant, the news was greeted with a very positive spin, noting that the cancellation almost certainly means a round of refurbs at that plant.

SNC finally buys AECL July 10, 2011

Posted by Maury Markowitz in AECL, nuclear.
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In what has to be one of the best deals in history, SNC-Lavalan just picked up the reactor design division of AECL for a mere $15 million. If that weren’t a great enough deal, the government kept all the debts! Wow, Canadian taxpayer, FTW!

SNC is claiming that at least one 900 MW class reactor is going to be built in Ontario, with the wink-shrug that they’re going to win it. The funny thing is, AECL doesn’t have a 900 MW reactor on offer right now, just the 735 MW EC6 and the now-dead 1200 MW ACR-1000 that failed to win the contract last time.

Interesting indeed, but I suspect there’ll be no information on this until the next press release. Oh, and here it is… So basically the deal is this, SNC pays the government $15 million, they immediately get paid $75 million for doing so, and on top of that the government keeps all the debts. Wow!

They’re BAAAAACK! April 13, 2011

Posted by Maury Markowitz in AECL, nuclear.
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So I’m listening to the Ceeb this morning and hear that Neve Campbell’s doing the rounds plugging Scream 4.

…and speaking of horror films that would be better left dead, guess what, Darlington B’s back on the burner! The public meetings started only days after Godzilla formed in the glowing waters off Fukushima, just in time for Greenpeace to show up and totally shut down the meetings.

As if that weren’t enough, the CANDU arm of AECL is still on the auction block, so we have no idea what design we’d want to use now that the “buy Canadian” argument is dubious. Actually there have been two bids for the CANDU arm of AECL, Bruce Power and SNC-Lavalin, but both bids were way below what the feds were asking so it went nowhere.

Now there’s a statement about the whole market; a new technology that claims to be super-duper, available for fire-sale prices, and no one will buy it. There’s the nuclear renaissance for you.

The fork stuck: nuclear power in Canada is dead December 21, 2009

Posted by Maury Markowitz in AECL, nuclear.
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I guess Mr. Harper reads this blog after all… on Thrusday the government stated that AECL’s reactor business is officially on the block. Here’s a pithy quote that puts it all in perspective:

“The Government of Canada is open to a range of options up to, and including, (an outside investment of) 100 per cent,” said Jocelyne Turner, spokeswoman for Natural Resources Canada, which oversees the federal nuclear file.

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Darlington B continues July 9, 2009

Posted by Maury Markowitz in AECL, nuclear.
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It’s been a little over a week since George Smitherman’s announcement that Darlington B was being put on hold, pending clarification from the feds about their intensions regarding AECL. It took a while for the stories to start making sense, but now that they do I’m worried by what I see.

Its seems pretty clear that OPG was being told to buy AECL in spite of any problems, including a price tag that even AECL said would make them unattractive. Smitherman’s position is pretty clear; he wants the feds to pony up cash. Win-win for the Ontario government I suppose – they get their reactors at the market price, and keep all the design jobs in Ontario by getting the Canadian taxpayer to pay their salaries. Awesome.

Now of course it’s equally clear that the feds, and Harper personally, consider AECL to be a money sink and are more than willing to kill it. Smitherman’s delay puts them in a tough position. If they go ahead and sell it off, the Ontario Libs will beat them over the head with it, with all that Avro Arrow talk. But if they want to avoid that, they’re going to have to come up with cash, precisely what they’ve made it clear they don’t want to do any more.

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