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OTTAWA — The Honourable Joe Oliver, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, issued the following statement today regarding Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s (AECL) announcement on increased liabilities:
“Costs for decommissioning and cleaning up nuclear sites have been increasing around the world driven by a number of factors including tough new safety standards to protect the public, a better understanding of the process involved in decommissioning waste sites and low interest rates, which increase the present value of liabilities. Costs at Atomic Energy Canada Limited have also increased over the past decade.
“These cost increases led our government to take concrete steps to ensure that Canadian taxpayers get the best value for their money. First, we put in place new management to provide stronger oversight. Second, we sold the CANDU reactor division of AECL to a private sector company. Third, and most recently, we announced that we are moving towards a Government-owned, Contractor-operated model (GoCo) that will ensure private sector rigour is applied to the oversight of Canada’s nuclear legacy liabilities. Lastly, we will put in place incentive-based contracts for cleanup that reward contractors who can safely remediate waste sites under budget. This practice has been put in place in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and has resulted in significant savings for taxpayers in those countries.
“Our Government has a long-standing commitment to clean up historic radioactive waste sites for which it is responsible. Many of these liabilities date back to the 1940s and 1950s, when Canada’s nuclear sector was just starting out, and waste management knowledge was not what it is today.
“We remain committed to cleaning up these historical waste sites. As part of the restructuring activities, AECL reviewed and updated all their liability information and the costs associated with it. This has allowed the Government of Canada to discover this increase in costs earlier, which in turn has allowed us to formulate plans earlier. We will continue to take the actions necessary to protect Canadian taxpayers while ensuring that Canada continues to benefit from a strong nuclear sector.”
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