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Trouble for Ontario's Candus

Using technology developed for atomic bombs, Canadian scientists hoped to bring safe, economical power to an energy-hungry world. By 1962, the first Candu (Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactor was powering Canadian homes, and Canada led the world in nuclear power generation technology. But Candu has fallen on hard times, faced with rising costs and serious environmental and ethical questions.

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Some say it is the beginning of the end for nuclear power in Canada. Ontario is facing the largest nuclear reactor shutdown in the world: seven of its 19 Candus will be closed, and the rest need major upgrading. It's the result of a scathing independent report that blasts the management and performance of Ontario Hydro's nuclear reactors.
• In 1997 Ontario Hydro shut down its seven oldest reactors, including four at the "Pickering A" station east of Toronto and three at the "Bruce A" station on the shore of Lake Huron near Kincardine. One "Bruce A" reactor was shut down in 1995.

• Ontario Power Generation and Bruce Power, the companies now in charge of the closed reactors, say the shutdowns are temporary. They hope to overhaul the reactors and eventually restart them.

• The report made it clear that the Ontario Hydro problems were a result of poor management, not any fault in the Candu design (Ontario Hydro president Allan Kupcis took full responsibility, and resigned.) But the shutdowns did tarnish the perception of nuclear power and Candu reactors.

• Canada's Auditor General Denis Desautels refused to sign AECL's 1993, 1994 and 1995 annual reports because he felt they did not set aside enough money for shutdown costs and dealing with radioactive wastes.

• Candu nuclear reactors provide almost half of Ontario's power supply, and 14 per cent of Canada's power.

• There is one Candu reactor operating in Quebec and one in New Brunswick.

• There are about 438 nuclear plants worldwide, supplying about 16 per cent of the world's electricity.
Medium: Radio
Program: The World At Six
Broadcast Date: Aug. 13, 1997
Guest(s): Mike Harris, Dave Martin, John Murphy
Host: Karen Gross
Reporter: Raj Ahluwalia
Duration: 3:31

Last updated: November 7, 2014

Page consulted on November 7, 2014

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