---- To Treasury Board: control of nuclear facilities needed
We wish to bring to your attention problems with the handling of Canada’s $8 billion federal nuclear waste and decommissioning liability by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL).
Taxpayer funding to AECL roughly quadrupled to $1.3 billion between 2015/16 and 2020/21. During this period, AECL’s reported liabilities increased by $332 million.
The previous Conservative Government attempted to cut costs and accelerate reduction of federal nuclear waste liabilities by implementing a public-private partnership or GoCo (“Government owned, Contractor operated”) contract between AECL and a multinational consortium. The GoCo contractor is advancing substandard radioactive waste projects that do not comply with international standards. Environmental assessments are mired in controversy and years behind schedule.
With the GoCo contract, Government oversight was greatly reduced and control over Canada’s federally-owned nuclear facilities and radioactive wastes was transferred to American-owned interests.
AECL’s president Richard Sexton is an American national and former executive in two of the original corporations awarded the 2015 GoCo contract. Mr. Sexton is also the Fee Distribution Officer who determines “award fees” received by the consortium. AECL’s Lead Contracts Officer is an American national. CNEA's board has a majority of American nationals. The GoCo contract was recently renewed unexpectedly, 18 months prior to its official expiry date, with no explanation.
Issues of ethics and accountability have arisen with the GoCo contract. The Caretaker Convention appears to have been disregarded (September 2015) when the multi-billion dollar GoCo contract was signed -- during a federal election campaign. The Integrity Regime was disregarded when the contract was quietly renewed in April, 2020, during early pandemic lockdown, despite the fraud conviction in late 2019 of the Canadian consortium partner SNC-Lavalin.
We believe intervention is required by Cabinet or Parliament to restore control and oversight of Canada's nuclear facilities and radioactive wastes.
Gordon Edwards, Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility
Éric Notebaert, Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
Ole Hendrickson, Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area