Cyberwanderer’s Blog

July 16, 2009

Hidden MAPLE War; Hospital’s Budget Take A Big Hit

Filed under: General — cyberwanderer @ 6:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

There’s more to the isotope MAPLE reactor shutdown than meets the eye. When Mulroney decide to privatize the isotope business and gave MDS Nordion the profit, it left AECL with having to build the reactor for MDS Nordion while not getting any proceeds from the profit. It eventually lead to AECL having to shoulder a bigger percentage of the cost for building the MAPLE reactor with MDS Nordion still getting all the profit from the isotope business. So when AECL decided to shutdown MAPLE, there’s speculation that it was a strategy to avoid having to shoulder all extra cost when there’s no benefit to be had. Which means taxpayers won’t be shouldering the extra cost while MDS Nordion continue to profit from it. As a result, MDS Nordion tried to sue AECL for about $1.6 billion. MDS Nordion has taken its court battle with AECL to Parliament and the press, claiming the reactor produced isotope.

When Mulroney gave away the profit from isotope business, he also underfunded the project leaving AECL to build two MAPLE reactor with little funds, and obligated to MDS Nordion who is the sole profiteer. The result is a problem plague project and budget overrun that taxpayers have to shoulder.  I am not sure if Harper’s motive for shutting down MAPLE was to prevent taxpayers from shouldering the extra cost or to put away a possible liability that could hamper his privatization effort. Either way, he is committing the same mistake Mulroney made when he privatized the isotope business. Harper now wants to privatize the nuclear plant business of AECL just when business are picking up and AECL just signed new contract with China. He wants Canada to get out of isotope business and proudly proclaim we’ll be looking to U.S. for our isotope needs. Privatization of electric and power industry reminds me of the black out suffered by California as private industry focus on maximum profit and refused to build new power, driving up cost of electricity. We could just be following on California’s footstep with skyrocketing electric bills if we end up relying on foreign firm to control new build of our power needs. Akin to constantly rising cost of using Highway 407 in Toronto.

Meanwhile, on my blog from June 17, 2009, I’ve expressed concern that the isotope crisis could threaten our health care.  There are signs that it had already occurred. Hospitals are suffering as cost of isotope skyrocket and shortage continues.  Globe and Mail quoted the president of the Canadian Society of Nuclear Medicine as saying:

The price increases are forcing hospitals to absorb additional unforeseen costs at a time when they are under financial strain during the economic recession.

The situation is unsustainable, as hospitals cannot meet their budgets when they are paying higher prices and doing fewer tests because crucial materials are in short supply, said Jean-Luc Urbain, president of the Canadian Society of Nuclear Medicine.

“It backs up the whole system,” he said.

Doctors are warning of layoffs as some results to dark age style more invasive procedure (i.e. more painful and higher chance of complications) for cancer and heart diagnosis.

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3 Comments »

  1. Thanks for this. Great post.

    Comment by foottothefire — July 16, 2009 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

  2. Well researched. This information needs to be know by the wider public. Please submit this to community newspapers like the http://www.straight.com

    Almost every city has a community newspaper. These lesser known papers are a great way to get the wider public attentions this deserves.

    Comment by Tim — July 17, 2009 @ 1:17 am | Reply

  3. And no wonder with hospitals going into financial crisis we need to invite American medical experts to tell us our healthcare system is struggling and need some “privatization” help to keep up to standard, they told us so didn’t they before ?. And of course the bonus politicians will collect in return as “consultants”after leaving the office.So we shouldn’t assume they care that much leaving the office (Mullrooney !!? set the example). The Canadian nuclear industry future is at these peoples’mercy ,and it doesn’t look promising.

    Comment by Sami — July 17, 2009 @ 10:51 pm | Reply


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