March 14, 2011 23:40 ET

SPEA urges government to maintain commitment to AECL

Japanese situation reinforces the need for experienced staff who design, build and maintain nuclear facilities

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 14, 2011) -

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor

The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA), representing the engineers, scientists and technical staff at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) shares the sadness over events in Japan this weekend. "We send our condolences to the Japanese people and encourage our members and all Canadians to contribute to relief efforts," said Peter White, President of SPEA.

"Canadians should feel confident in our technology and our nuclear plants," said Dr. Michael Ivanco, Vice President of SPEA. "The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission posted a statement stating that the country's nuclear plants 'are among the most robust designs in the world' and have tools in place to prevent damage in the case of such a natural disaster. As designers of CANDU we agree."

AECL designed CANDUs have one of the best safety records in the world. All CANDUs are designed to withstand natural disasters and have several redundant safety systems in place. In order to enhance safety, one recent achievement is the design of a passive auto-catalytic hydrogen re-combiner system which does not require any electricity to operate. AECL pursued the design of these catalytic units to increase the level of safety at nuclear facilities. Although the units have been sold to many other stations around the world, and have made profits, this system was produced at AECL in the interests of constantly enhancing safety. It is important that safety never take a back seat to profits.

"At a time when Canadians want to know that their nuclear system is safe, it is critical for the government to maintain and strengthen AECL," said White. "Our team of engineers, scientists and technicians are world class and we risk losing the experience if AECL is broken up and sold."

"The safety of Canadians requires that the skilled staff, who are the designers and builders of CANDU plants, are not dispersed as a result of a sale" said Ivanco. "The only way you can ensure that is by having a healthy AECL that has a strong government commitment. Without the experience of our members Canadians will have to place their trust in others not as intimately familiar with CANDU technology."

About the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates

The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) represents engineers, scientists, technologists and tradespeople who work for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in Mississauga, Ontario and abroad (excluding Chalk River Laboratories). SPEA members collectively represent the majority of Canada's nuclear power design expertise.


Peter White (English)

Dr. Michael Ivanco (English)

Marius A. Vartolomei (French)

Contact Information

  • Michelle Duncan
    416-427-3525 (cell)