Ottawa to sell Atomic Energy of Canada to SNC-Lavalin

Critics say Canada’s nuclear program will struggle without federal funds

The federal government will announce the sale of Crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to Montreal-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group. According to sources close to the negotiations, the sale of AECL’s commercial division could come as early as next week. Critics of the move are skeptical that Canada’s nuclear program can survive without significant federal subsidies, given global resistance to the industry in the fallout of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. They also say SNC-Lavelin will try to avoid risks by foregoing the construction of new reactors and simply refurbishing old ones. SNC-Lavalin has reportedly assured Ottawa that it can boost reactor sales and servicing. Company CEO Pierre Duhaime told The Globe and Mail he is optimistic that Canada’s nuclear program will be able to compete with industry heavyweights from France, Japan, South Korea, China and the U.S. Over the past two years, AECL has lost nearly $500 million.

The Globe and Mail