Over 200 California Auctions End Today - Bid Now

Canada to privatize Chalk River's owners

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | July 16, 2010
Regulations eased for
infrastructure operator sales
The Canadian government voted Monday to loosen rules to make it easier to privatize the ownership of the medical isotope-producing National Research Universal reactor, as part of a controversial and narrowly passed omnibus budget bill.

The Conservative Party-supported bill squeaked by 48-44 in a vote to neutralize the Liberal Party's attempt to change the legislation.

Provisions in the law will make it easier to sell Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. AECL, a crown corporation, has been on the auction block since last year, but has not found any buyers.

The aim of the sale, according to Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis, is to inject some cash into AECL to make it more competitive in the world market, the Toronto Sun said.

In addition to managing the NRU reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, AECL designs and markets Canadian-invented pressurized heavy water reactors known as CANDU reactors, but it hasn't sold one in nearly a decade, according to reports.

The business also took a hit last week when the province of New Brunswick rejected AECL's proposal to build a new reactor and instead tapped its main rival, the French company Areva, for the job.