Comments on AECL’s Federal Budget Allocations

AECL has been allocated $300 million for fiscal 10/11 on a cash basis in the federal budget. Given AECL’s track record in recent years of securing unbudgeted top-up payments through the year, taxpayers may well see greater cash losses this year. The stipulation in the budget that the funds are provided on a “cash basis” suggests that the allocation does not cover expected future losses, which are not specified.

My quote in the Telegraph Journal news story of March 5th: “We know the isotope business is a disaster – it’s an international embarrassment. But now it turns out that all the business acumen (AECL) brought to the isotope sector has been transferred the to refurbishment business.”

I am also quoted in the Globe and Mail news story of March 5th, wherein I am described as a consultant for the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario. Although this statement is true, it is not relevant to the story, not reflective the positions of AMPCO, and not an element of the interview I had with the Globe and Mail reporter.

Shawn McCarthy had an excellent update on AECL’s final taxpayer take for fiscal 09/10 in the Globe on March 4th — $824 million. Of this amount, at least $410 million has been earmarked to cover losses on CANDU refurbishment contracts.  AECL is reliving OPG’s Pickering A refurbishment experience. Previous reports have indicated losses at New Brunswick’s Point Lepreau reactor and Ontario’s Bruce complex, but McCarthy’s report is the first to finger losses at the reactor AECL is refurbishing in South Korea. AECL is currently seeking a refurbishment contract with Argentina.