Ontario Minister of Energy Brad Duguid said the federal government is risking jobs in the province as it decides what to do with its nuclear assets. ((Dave Chidley/Canadian Press))

Ontario's Liberal government warns that federal foot-dragging on the future of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is jeopardizing 70,000 high-tech jobs.

Energy Minister Brad Duguid said Friday in Toronto that the province is getting frustrated waiting for the Conservative federal government to make a decision on a possible sale of AECL.

The province wants to build two new atomic reactors — and it wants to buy Canadian if it can get the right price — but Duguid complains that no progress is being made while Ottawa dithers.

He said the federal "decision to sell off AECL in the middle of the procurement process was very troublesome" to the province. Duguid also accused the Harper Tories of failing to stand up for workers in the Canadian nuclear industry.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis said this month he wants a deal to sell AECL completed "sooner rather than later," but wouldn't confirm whether Bruce Power and SNC-Lavalin Group were the only bidders.

Liberal Senator Céline Hervieux-Payette introduced a bill in the Senate on Thursday "to save" AECL by requiring that no more than 30 per cent of the federal Crown corporation be sold to the private sector.