Ballooning costs and secret projects at Canada’s federal nuclear labs

by Ole Hendrickson

What does Canada get from its nuclear power corporation for its $1.54 billion budget?

Canada’s national nuclear power corporation – Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) – has no functioning nuclear reactors, unlike similar state-owned bodies in China, Russia, France, Korea, and the United Arab Emirates, and despite a $1.54 billion annual budget.

AECL’s three “prototype” CANDU reactors haven’t produced electricity for 37 years. Its three main research reactors are also shut down. Yet they must be maintained to protect nearby water bodies.

Section 9 of Canada’s 2023 Public Accounts indicates that AECL’s liability will require ongoing public expenditures for the next 162 years. It records “decommissioning of nuclear facilities” as a $9.3 billion “asset retirement obligation.”

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