Major Problems Facing Canada’s Nuclear Sector

After the crisis at the Chalk River reactor that caused a worldwide shortage of medical isotopes in 2009, Canada’s nuclear industry is once again facing major issues. More than 800 Candu Energy employees are on strike as of the morning of July 9, looking for higher wages. The scientists, engineers and technologists work at Candu plants in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.

The plants they work in supply power around the world.

Perhaps those employees should also be demanding safety in their workplace as well. At least one Candu plant Gentilly-2 in Quebec is decaying. The concrete and steel encasement that prevents radiation leaks at the plant could fail if the decay is allowed to continue, according to a 2010 report from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

The plant is one of many that regulators say is operating well past its expected life of 25 to 30 years, but the CNSC says it continues to be safe and has extended the plant’s license through 2016.

Atomic Energy of Canada’s (AECL) solution to the issues that shut down Chalk River was to sell the Candu division to SNC-Lavelin (in a deal that saw the government essentially paying the engineering firm to take the division off their hands). AECL is also looking for a private partner for their nuclear labs in Chalk River.

While AECL continues to try to find solutions to issues in the nuclear sector, the Harper government continues to focus on oil sands development rather than trying to develop a clean energy economy. The government also continues to attack anyone who questions this strategy.

Will we have a real crisis before things start to change? We’ll have to wait and see.

Related Stories:

Germany Closes 7 Aging Nuclear Plants As EU Calls for Nuclear Plant Stress Tests

Nuclear Energy Just Doesn’t Make Sense

Japan’s Nuclear Crisis Shows There’s No Foolproof Script for Damage Control

Photo Credit: Topato


Duane B.
.6 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Terry V.
Terry V6 years ago


David D.
David D.6 years ago

@ John Z.
Hi John I think that Rene L might have been referring to something like this link here.

or this one perhaps?

Isn't the internet amazing when you actually use it?

Arild Warud


John Z.
John Z6 years ago

Rene L. Your Great Lake comment is scaremongering and nonsense. Please provide proof of this statement.

Ken W.
Ken W6 years ago


Rene Lemoyne
Rene L6 years ago

john K.
recycling nuclear waste ? This stuff is radioactive for over 100 years.
Canada puts its nuclear waste into bins and dumps them in the Great Lakes.

John Kramer
John Kramer6 years ago

Our country should get rid of all of its laws the prohibit the use of recycling nuclear waste. Canada recycles its nuclear waste. Our country should do it also. Our country does nothing but find places to store nuclear waste. The United states does not seem to be interested in disposing of nuclear waste. If America won't do what it takes to dispose of all of its nuclear waste safely or legalize recycling it, our country should stop using nuclear power.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons6 years ago

Shut down all these death trap nuclear accidents waiting to happen.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 6 years ago

Canada's getting worse than the States! This unforgiviable.