Consistency required for Canadian nuclear

27 January 2011

Canada needs to decide on what kind of nuclear industry it wants, stick to it and then support it, said Bruce Power CEO Duncan Hawthorne.

 

Speaking plainly to the Empire Club at Toronto's Royal York Hotel, the utility CEO recounted the "tremendous pioneering spirit" that has characterised Canada's 60 years in the nuclear industry and the high quality of its workforce.

 

Some countries, he said, can forecast their nuclear industry's work out to the middle of the century based on a long-term view but, "The challenge for Canada right now - and it's really obvious in the media right now - is what kind of industry do we want?"

 

Duncan Hawthorne speaking to the Empire Club, January 2011 (Empire Club)

(Image: Empire Club)

 

"The one thing I know from my experience in this industry is you cannot be schizophrenic about the nuclear power industry. It requires sponsorship - not subsidy; it requires sponsorship and commitment. And my message to anyone who has interest in fixing some of the issues with our nuclear program are to start there."

 

"I can tell you that you cannot go to any country pursuing new nuclear and not find that there's been a visit from the president or the prime minister of those countries that have vendors... I don't think Canada has shown that clear leadership for a long number of years."

 

This brought Hawthorne to the topic of the ongoing sale of nuclear reactor and research company Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL), which reports indicate has ground to a halt. He said he would not comment on that matter, or whether Bruce Power had been involved in any negotiations.

 

"But I will give you my view on the critical success factors for our industry... Firstly it's about trust. It's about integrity. It's about openness and honesty. People have to believe what you say and they have to trust you. And that's particularly true when you're embarking on a nuclear program. It's also about consistency. You can't say one thing today and something else tomorrow. People have to know where you stand, and that you will always be in that same position."

 

"That's not the case with our nuclear program. We've been schizophrenic. Do we want to kill it? Do we want to defeat it? Do we want to sell it? Boy we've talked about every one of those options. Make up your mind, make a plan, and stick to it."

 

With a nuclear program, "there is no exit for a federal government. And the question is whether you want to be fully committed and visibly supporting it and actively promoting it, or whether you want to accept it as a liability and a risk."
 
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News
 

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