Cyberwanderer’s Blog

January 19, 2008

Buck does not stop with AECL

Filed under: Canada,Politics — cyberwanderer @ 9:14 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

maple.jpgIn my last post, I went through the time line of the medical isotope crisis. I mentioned quickly a possible reason for why AECL is short on cash. Today’s Toronto Star have an analysis piece called “Chalk River Crisis Sired by AECL“. While AECL clearly is at fault, the buck does not stop there. Past government have neglected AECL. When Mulroney’s government sold the medical isotope to private company, the fund from the sell went to government coffer and not to AECL. AECL is then obligated to build the new MAPLE reactor for MDS Nordion as per their agreement. Anyone who works in a corporation knows that with lack of funding you need to cut corners. When you cut corners mistakes happens. The lawsuit filed by MDS Nordion ends in settlement where AECL would now shoulder all the cost and assume ownership of the MAPLE reactor (see my previous post for more details and links on this).

Source of the problem: Privatization and Negligence

The Toronto Star article states that:

Overarching all this was the meagre funding over the past decade by Liberal and Conservative governments for AECL to remedy health, safety, licensing and security shortcomings at the sprawling Chalk River laboratories.

Past and present government are at fault. One of the thing I dislike about Chretien government is he tend to maintain the status quo. Status quo usually does not equal progress and will more likely lead to regression. As for the present government, in a typical Harper’s fashion of “blame Dion and everybody but themselves”, he lashed out at the non-partisan quasi-judicial body of CNSC as being made up of Liberal hacks. His partisanship manage to ruin the reputation of CNSC and put it in disarray. Now all nuclear project are at risk of being delayed.

clementaecl.jpgMorale at AECL and CNSC are low as a result of Harper’s political gamemanship. This threatened flight of much needed qualified personnel in both agency. But one other worrying development is Harper’s attempt to split up AECL into engineering and research division. Engineering part to be sold to foreign private firm and the research division left on its own. This brings deja vu of past government policy. Mulroney’s government took away isotope revenue and underfunded AECL leaving it with scarce resources. Now Harper wants to take away the last possible source of revenue for AECL – the engineering section. This comes on the heels of Nuclear Power Plant revival which could see lucrative contract for that division. Just as Harper’s government is quietly selling Canadarm to weapon manufacturer in the U.S., he is attempting to privatize AECL without public consultation.

The government attempts at privatizing AECL piece by piece while underfunding it is the chief reason there is crisis in AECL. The Toronto Star article mentioned the fact that “since 2002 Ottawa has provided just $34 million”. AECL was once at the forefront of science and research. Its reputation, along with that of Canada have been tainted due to politicians questionable practice of privatization and total negligence. The article quote a former head of one of the largest federal science agencies. I thought what he says speaks volume.

Canada was in a position of pre-eminence in the world in basic nuclear research, in the nuclear technology for building reactors and in the production of isotopes. Now we’re nowhere as competitive in all three of those areas.

It’s sad, very sad.

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  1. […] lack of appreciation for science, Canada’s innovativeness is on a continuous decline. The AECL fiasco is just a testament to Canada’s government continued neglect for research and innovations. […]

    Pingback by Reputable Science Journal Blast Harper « Cyberwanderer’s Blog — February 22, 2008 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

  2. The low moral have nothing to do with Harper and his plans, the low moral have to do with management and how people are treated at AECL, specially people who know what they are doing is wrong but to keep a job they do it. The money that Harper puts in is not spent wisely, when management does not report accurately the progress painting the progress in summer colors while its really winter colors and then the VP believes that they are on track with no delays until after a couple years when he decided to quit because he found out he was a fool and been had by his management.

    Most of the new employee know this is highly not right to do but they need a job and they want say a word and their moral goes down until they leave on stress leave, AECL and us people who pay taxes have to pay for that leave and have to pay for miss managing the work needed to be done .

    Comment by Anonymous — March 2, 2008 @ 9:13 am | Reply

  3. […] Buck Does Not Stop with AECL […]

    Pingback by Canada Produce Medical Isotopes, U.S. Companies Profit « Cyberwanderer’s Blog — December 16, 2008 @ 12:14 am | Reply

  4. […] The reactor involved in the isotope crisis is one of the first few reactors built while Canada was one of the leading players in the world stage in the field of science and research. It’s a very old reactor. Would May be happy if they did not shutdown the reactor possibly compromising safety? There was supposed to be a new reactor built to replace it. But the government sold out hefty profit that AECL used to get from these medical isotopes to private firm MDS Nordion.  Then AECL was forced to built a new reactor which mainly benefit MDS Nordion while the project was underfunded. To find out more detail after past government actions, check out my old blog that discussed in depth the Harper’s CNSC boondangle and AECL’s underfunding. […]

    Pingback by Is May Lobbying for Areva? « Cyberwanderer’s Blog — May 26, 2009 @ 11:15 pm | Reply

  5. […] contender. Coincidentally I just wrote a blog criticizing May for virtually lobbying for Areva and Mulroney’s selling out the profitable medical isotopes business of AECL to private firm which is a major factor for the […]

    Pingback by Harper Selling AECL To Foreign Company? « Cyberwanderer’s Blog — May 28, 2009 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

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