SNC-Lavalin still bullish on AECL

Engineering giant's interest not reduced by mishap in Japan.

Comments Off on SNC-Lavalin still bullish on AECL April 12, 2011
by Canadian Press

Montreal — SNC-Lavalin’s interest in buying Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is undiminished by global safety concerns following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, CEO Pierre Duhaime said Monday. The head of the global engineering firm said nuclear power remains safe and will continue to be an important energy source for many countries.

“Nuclear is a viable source of energy production,” Duhaime said in an interview Monday after launching the Montreal-based company’s centenary celebrations. “There are areas of the world that don’t have access to other sources of renewable energy and nuclear can be a solution of their problems.”

He said AECL’s Candu nuclear reactors can capture between 10 to 20 per cent of the global market as governments look at smaller reactors that can be easily integrated in their energy networks. Candu is an ideal fit not only for Ontario, but for other countries, as well, he added.

Duhaime also said he hopes Quebec won’t decide to close its lone Gentilly nuclear reactor near Trois-Rivieres, a power plant that needs a costly upgrade.

Many jurisdictions are re-evaluating their interest in nuclear energy in light of radiation contamination that escaped Japan’s reactors. But Duhaime said technical solutions can be found to make the sites even safer.

“As engineers, we are able to design and take into account the worst scenarios.”

Contamination from the reactors was unfortunate, but they withstood a stronger earthquake and tsunami than expected while avoiding a catastrophe like Chernobyl, he added.

© 2011 The Canadian Press