Saturday, 23 June 2012

Candu Energy grapples with strike and soft markets

Candu Energy grapples with strike and soft markets: ..."A year ago this month, Canada’s nuclear industry looked forward hopefully as SNC-Lavalin struck a deal to buy the Candu reactor technology of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.
Today Candu Energy, as the company is known, faces employees on the picket line, and a prized customer – the Ontario government – that’s playing hard to get.
Engineers, scientists and technicians belonging to the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) are into their third week of a partial strike against Candu.
And while the two sides are still talking across the picket line, SPEA officials are warning that the discord is placing the future of the company at risk, as employees jump ship for other employers in the nuclear sector.
“We’re losing our capability,” union vice president Michael Ivanco said Wednesday. “It’s like Humpty Dumpty. Once you break up Humpty Dumpty you’re not going to put it back together again.”
More than 200 engineers and scientists have departed in the past year, and “you can’t replace them with people off the street,” Ivanco said." ..."While Candu Energy grapples with its own workers, externally it’s still trying to nail down more big jobs.
The Ontario government, and its big generating company Ontario Power Generation, are a prize target, with two multi-billion-dollar jobs in the offing.
One is the refurbishment of the reactors at the Darlington nuclear station, which is equipped with Candu reactors.
Canadu Energy’s sister firm SNC-Lavalin Nuclear has won part of the first contract – $600 million of preparation and design work – and much more work should be flow in years ahead, if Candu Energy can win it.
OPG also has plans for two new reactors at Darlington.
But the province hasn’t formally committed to proceeding with the job. Even if it does, Candu Energy is competing with Westinghouse to get the project.
Asked about the government’s intentions last week, energy minister Chris Bentley said:
“Any decision we'll only make if it's in the best interests of the ratepayers.” "

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