Natural Resources Canada

Natural Resources Canada

May 28, 2009 12:26 ET

Natural Resources Canada: Government of Canada Moves Forward on Restructuring Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 28, 2009) - The Government of Canada is moving forward with restructuring Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) to take full advantage of the revitalized global nuclear industry. This decision follows an exhaustive Review of AECL.

"Our Government is acting now to inject strength into Canada's nuclear industry by enhancing the culture of growth; the culture of efficiency; and the culture of leadership," said the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources. "The ultimate objective of this restructuring is to leverage Canada's long-term investment in nuclear energy and strengthen Canada's nuclear industry at a time of global expansion."

The Review was launched in November 2007 as part of the Government of Canada's due diligence and commitment to good governance and responsible management. Its purpose was to determine whether AECL's current structure best equips the Corporation, its employees and ultimately the Canadian nuclear industry to participate fully in the expanding global nuclear market. It studied several factors: the need to control costs, to maximize Canadian taxpayers' return on their investment and to optimize opportunities for the Canadian nuclear industry. The Review engaged a wide range of stakeholders and involved external financial evaluation of the Corporation and market conditions; legal and policy analysis of restructuring; and careful study of the impacts of possible options on business prospects.

The Government today released a Report by the Department of Natural Resources, summarizing the Review. Based on this analysis, the Government is acting to strengthen Canada's nuclear industry, to enhance the culture of growth; the culture of innovation; and the culture of leadership.

The Government agrees with the conclusions of the Review, which found that AECL's current mandate and structure limit the corporation's success and development, and that restructuring would help to maximize benefits for Canada.

The review highlighted AECL's strong industry credentials and its valued intellectual property and world-class labour force. AECL employs some of the best and brightest engineers and scientists in the nuclear business. This workforce represents tremendous value to the corporation, and to Canada. The Government of Canada's objective is to ensure that these employees are well positioned to participate in high-value projects both domestically and internationally.

The Review found significant private sector interest in AECL's commercial operations, offering the Government of Canada the potential to leverage its investment in AECL and expand opportunities for Canada's nuclear industry. It also found private sector interest in new models or in new partnerships to manage the Research and Technology Division, including the Chalk River laboratories.

The Government of Canada has engaged N.M. Rothschild & Sons to develop a restructuring plan and to provide external financial advice as required. As well, David Leith, formerly of CIBC World Markets, has been engaged as Advisor to the Minister to assist in this project and to work with Natural Resources Canada, AECL and the Government's financial advisors.

"A key element of this plan is to maximize opportunities for AECL's employees, who are the Corporation's most valuable assets," said Minister Raitt. "Their interests will be considered throughout this restructuring."

The Government places top priority on health, safety and the environment in relation to all nuclear activities in Canada. This decision will in no way affect the role of Canada's nuclear regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission; it will continue to oversee the entire nuclear industry in this country.

The Government of Canada will be providing updates to Canadians as the restructuring moves forward.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

The Government of Canada has announced a restructuring of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) to take full advantage of the revitalized global nuclear industry. The restructuring will leverage Canada's long-term investment in nuclear energy and strengthen Canada's nuclear industry at a time of global expansion.

The following media backgrounder is available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media:

a. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL)

b. Nuclear Energy in Canada

NRCan's news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Ottawa
    Jasmine MacDonnell
    Director of Communications
    613-996-2007
    or
    Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa
    Media Relations
    613-992-4447