Breakthrough deal for Candu and China Nuclear to build two reactors in Romania

Candu Energy and China Nuclear Power Engineering Company Sign Cooperation Agreement for Two CANDU Reactors in Romania

MISSISSAUGA, ONJuly 24, 2014 /CNW/ – Candu Energy Inc., an SNC-Lavalin company, today signed a binding and exclusive cooperation agreement with China Nuclear Power Engineering Company, Ltd. (CNPEC) for the construction of CANDU Units 3 and 4 at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania.  Signed in Vancouver, the agreement was witnessed by senior representatives of China’s National Energy Administration and Natural Resources Canada.

Romania already has two operating CANDU 6 nuclear reactors, which came into service in 1996 and 2007. Combined, they are the largest power producer in the country, accounting for about 20 per cent of Romania’s energy supply. This agreement follows a letter of intent signed by CNPEC’s parent company China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) and Romanian utility Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN) in November 2013 for investment in and development of two additional nuclear units at the Cernavoda site.

“Candu Energy looks forward to working with CNPEC to meet Romania’s growing nuclear energy requirements.  This is an exciting opportunity to build on CANDU technology’s international track record for the highest levels of safety, reliability and efficiency,” said Preston Swafford, Candu Energy President and CEO.  “Today’s agreement deepens our strong ties with both the Romanian and Chinese nuclear industries, as CANDU reactors have operated in both countries for more than a decade.”

CANDU nuclear technology has an established presence in China, with two 700 megawatt CANDU reactors at Qinshan Phase III, located southwest of Shanghai. Completed in 2003, the Qinshan units are among the best performing nuclear units in China with lifetime capacity factors of over 91 per cent.

“This project stands to make a meaningful contribution to Canada’s economy and support highly-skilled jobs here at home.  It demonstrates the tremendous export value of Canadian nuclear expertise,” added Mr. Swafford.

Candu Energy is pursuing other international new build opportunities in the United Kingdom and China, among other markets.

About Candu Energy Inc.

Candu Energy Inc. is a leading full-service nuclear technology company providing nuclear power reactors and nuclear products and services to customers worldwide. Candu Energy’s 1,200 highly skilled employees design and deliver state-of-the-art CANDU® reactors, carry out life extension projects, and offer operations, maintenance and plant life management services for existing nuclear power stations.

CANDU reactors use natural uranium fuel, heavy-water moderator and heavy-water coolant in a pressure tube design. They can be refuelled on power and have one of the highest lifetime capacity factors among the world’s reactors. CANDU reactors are ideal for small and medium electric grids; the newest designs are equipped with a number of safety enhancements to meet the latest Canadian and international standards, including post-Fukushima enhancements. They benefit from the CANDU 6 experience of proven design, construction and operation.

Russia makes an offer to tender two nuclear power plants in Argentina

July 14, 2014 – Messi lookalike and Economy Minister Axel Kicillof and other top Argentine politicians met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Energy Minister Alexander Novak to discuss cooperation and sign a deal to develop two new Rosatom nuclear plants in Argentina. Details of the story are available by  clicking this article in the Buenos Aries Herald.

From an international perspective these negotiations depict the high level of official government involvement that is often required in nuclear energy deals. The united efforts of Russia’s President and Economy Minister is in stark contrast to the noticeably absent support that Prime Minster Stephen Harper has shown for marketing Canadian Candu reactors abroad.  How should Canada compete with Russia and other nations to export Canadian nuclear technology and expertise around the world?

In a recent post we pointed out that Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi was actively supporting and advocating on behalf of Candu and other Canadian interests at a conference in China. In the high stakes game of international energy, heads of state need to get involved. 

China leading the way with first nuclear IPO estimated at USD $2.6 billion

Western nations typically cite finance reasons for not being able to fund new nuclear projects. The projects are either too large, costing ten billion dollars or more, or they are deemed to be too risky with too much potential liability and therefore not financeable. What makes a finance project too big or too risky? Certainly projects worth tens of billions of dollars could be syndicated to large pension or sovereign funds. And what makes a project too risky or difficult to insure? Certainly risks associated with nuclear power are not infinite and therefore they are quantifiable. If they are quantifiable then an associated price and risk premium could be calculated. The actuaries and insurance people that first put numbers to the risk and liability issues around nuclear energy will be able to create an entire new category of infrastructure finance to support the buildout of nuclear power reactors in the 21st century.

While many western nations debate the merits of new nuclear, China is progressing aggressively. As a nation with high population density and arguably the world’s worst air quality, China has determined that nuclear will be a critical part of their energy mix. In response to the related finance issues it appears they are using another western innovation, the IPO. For full details, read the linked Reuters article which describes a $2.6 billion IPO planned by China Nuclear Power.

If you are interested in nuclear energy finance, please consider attending the Future of Nuclear seminar on May 8 on the topic Nuclear Energy Finance: The UK Experience.

Henry Vehovec,
Chair, Future of Nuclear Advisory Board
President, Mindfirst Inc.






Westinghouse has inside track on sale of 8 reactors ($24 billion) in China

On Mon Apr 21, 2014 Reuters reported:
* Westinghouse in talks to sell eight AP1000 Reactors
* Nuclear plants, with machinery and services, may cost $24 billion
* Liaoning’s Xudapu and Guangdong’s Lufeng part of discussion
* Sanmen 1 to connect to grid in 2015

“China may sign as early as next year the first of several contracts for eight new nuclear reactors from Westinghouse Electric Co, as the government presses ahead with the world’s biggest civilian nuclear power expansion since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.”

“China’s main nuclear power companies are moving forward with talks to buy the third-generation Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, said Timothy Collier, China managing director of the U.S.-based company. The eight projects, including machinery and services, are expected to cost $24 billion.”

“We are currently in various stages of negotiations for eight new units,” Collier told Reuters. Westinghouse is majority owned by Japan’s Toshiba Corp and its reactors are the blueprint for China’s own nuclear technology.”

“China currently has 20 nuclear power reactors online, with another 28 under construction, as it seeks to reduce its reliance on costly and polluting fossil fuels to generate electricity. Sun Qin, chairman of major nuclear plant operator China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) recently told Reuters another 20 nuclear reactors may be built within the next six years.”

“China has vowed to more than double the installed nuclear generation capacity to 58 gigawatts (GW) by the end of the decade. Nuclear installed capacity currently stands at 15.69 GW, according to the latest official data.”

“China’s nuclear expansion is attracting many equipment suppliers, including French power firms Alstom SA and Areva.”

“Candu Energy Inc., a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin Group , is also working with CNNC to start converting two Candu 6 reactors at Qinshan in Zhejiang province, to burn reprocessed uranium fuel.”

“There’s a huge potential for Canada and Candu energy,” Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation Reza Moridi told Reuters during a visit to Beijing last week.  The Reuters article further quoted Moridi, “If China is going to build 100 reactors in the next 20 years, they require 25 Candu reactors to burn the spent fuel coming from the light-water reactors.”

Candu has been criticized in China for not having built any new reactors domestically in Canada in recent years. The Chinese apparently have a hard time understanding that in Canada with a relatively stable population of about 30 million there just isn’t the demand to build new reactors at the rate required in China. As population size and density grows and GHG effects and air quality become greater concerns new nuclear becomes a more attractive option because of the great inherent density of nuclear energy and virtually no GHG emissions.

Kudos to Minister Moridi for making the trip to China to support Candu’s marketing effort. Ontario has created hundreds of jobs by encouraging renewable energy through the Green Energy Act. In comparison, Ontario’s nuclear industry employs more than 20,000. In light of the recent announcement between OPG and Westinghouse to market nuclear services globally, Minister Moridi may have been well served to be cheering on the Westinghouse sales efforts as well.


Swafford setting course for Candu in China

On February 25, 2014 SNC-Lavalin Inc. (TSX: SNC) announced the appointment of Preston Swafford to the role of Chief Nuclear Officer, President and CEO, Candu Energy. Based in Toronto and reporting to the Company’s Power Group President, Alexander (Sandy) Taylor, Mr. Swafford will be responsible for growing SNC-Lavalin’s nuclear business to meet the needs of its customers for technical services, major refurbishments and new builds across Canada and in key international markets. Mr. Swafford has impressive experience including senior positions at Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Exelon, both companies are major American nuclear operators. On hearing the news industry observers wondered what course would be set by Swafford, and how applicable would his experience be with the iconic, definitively Canadian Candu heavy water reactors. Reports from a major trade show in China earlier this month, China International Nuclear Industry Exhibition, are providing an indication that Swafford is already starting to make his mark.

Candu Energy Inc. has had a rough period in recent years. Demand for new nuclear softened post Fukushima and in the wake of the financial crisis. Nations with stronger economies, such as China and India, have a burgeoning middle class that is hungry for cheap, reliable energy, and also, a need to rein in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for air quality, health and climate change reasons. International manufacturers have made inroads in these emerging markets with innovative new technologies, such as the four Westinghouse light water AP1000 reactors that China started building in 2008. With diminished demand, government support and privatization domestically, Candu needs to reinvent and reposition itself for the new 21st century nuclear market.

Swafford has quickly displayed that he understands the unique attributes of the Candu reactors. Some of the reactor features that made Candu a global leader when first developed decades ago are still highly relevant today. Candu reactors have demonstrated that they can use spent fuel to produce energy. Further, they can be most readily modified to use thorium as a fuel and they have superior safety features. Engineers estimate that for every four new reactors that China builds of various designs, they could and should build one Candu reactor to use the spent fuel. If China follows through on plans to build 100 new reactors in coming decades, this could potentially mean 25 new reactor sales for Candu.

Sales cycles in the nuclear industry are long. It is still early in the game for Swafford and the new Candu. One thing is certain, new innovations, partnerships and financial players are emerging. As with other technology industries, your competitor today may be your partner tomorrow. Who would have thought years ago that western companies would be selling nuclear technologies to China? Who would have thought that China, France and Russia would be involved in building and financing a new reactor in Britain? These are the times we are now in. Candu is setting a course to be a player in this new world.

Henry Vehovec
Chair, Future of Nuclear Advisory Board
President, Mindfirst Inc.


Nuclear Innovation announced as theme for Future of Nuclear 2014 Conference

In recent weeks, sources as diverse as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Dalai Lama have all commented on the relentless growth of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the earth’s atmosphere and the need to mitigate resultant climate change effects.  In all instances the sources have talked about the need for nuclear energy to play an increased role in the global energy mix.  Along with renewable forms of energy such as wind and solar, together with innovations in smart grid and energy storage, leading thinkers believe there still may be a chance to rein in overall global warming before certain irreversible tipping points are reached.

In our post-Fukushima world many leading policy makers, politicians, and stakeholders are revisiting and reassessing the role that nuclear power can play in the global energy mix. What innovations have taken place since the Fukushima generation reactors were designed and deployed?  What innovations have there been in safety, regulation, and decommissioning?  Have there been advances in quantifying the risks and liabilities of nuclear projects?  What are the innovations and considerations in public policy, education and awareness that have prompted several jurisdictions to ramp up their nuclear programs?

On November 4, 2014, Mindfirst will host the second Future of Nuclear Conference that will address many of these questions. We are currently in the process of developing the agenda, content and speaker list.  Interested participants and potential speakers may contact  Click here to view the agenda from last year’s Future of Nuclear conference.

Early bird registration is available at:




Westinghouse and OPG agreement a watershed moment for Canadian nuclear industry

With little fanfare, an unassuming tweet came across my screen yesterday afternoon while attending the global carbon leakage seminar at Bennett Jones. Apparently, Westinghouse and OPG had signed an agreement to collaborate and work on selling their nuclear expertise, products, and services in global markets. Under the agreement, the companies will consider a diversity of nuclear projects including refurbishment, maintenance and outage services, decommissioning and remediation of existing nuclear facilities, and new nuclear power plants.

This agreement could represent a watershed moment for Ontario’s economy, certainly for the nuclear industry. Like a sportscaster that tries to call the definitive momentum shifting play in a game, we won’t know for a while yet. But this agreement could be a gamechanger. Let me tell you why. Ontario has been built on the back of cheap energy, first from Niagara Falls and then nuclear. It is cheap energy that allows us to mine economically and manufacture cars with the best the world has to offer. Similarly, in Quebec, the vast hydro projects underpin their economy. In Alberta, oil and gas are key drivers. Any robust economy in the world has an abundant, secure source of energy.

Ontario’s CANDU technology has been a global leader and a gamechanger for many countries in the world. However, as in all technology driven industries, there is great innovation happening, it happens relentlessly,  and CANDU is not the only nuclear technology that growing nations are considering. The thriving economies of the world, China, India and others, are craving cheap, abundant, clean, safe energy. While Ontario does not have the demand to build new reactors now, other countries do. The challenge for our nuclear industry has been to somehow get our tens of thousands of nuclear related jobs serving the global market, not just maintaining our stable domestic market. This means being able to support the multiple and diverse nuclear technologies that are evolving in the global marketplace today.

The significance of the Westinghouse deal is that it ties OPG to a global leader in a non-CANDU technology. OPG is a globally recognized leader in operating nuclear power generating stations. It has an unblemished safety record that is the envy of the world. What a glorious opportunity this represents to market that operating expertise and enter other markets being served by emerging nuclear technologies. There is certainly a place for CANDU in the future. However, Westinghouse has their APS-1000 line of reactors that are making inroads in several countries. Kudos to OPG for seizing this opportunity and diversifying how they deploy their expertise.

Kudos also to Westinghouse. Westinghouse recognizes that in the 21st century the world will need more nuclear energy if it is to stem the effects of GHG driven climate change. In a post Chernobyl world there has been a relative shortage of young engineers and trades trained in the nuclear sciences. Ontario has almost 300 companies in the nuclear supply chain. There are more than 25,000 jobs related to the nuclear industry. There are nine universities that have courses in some sort of nuclear science. We have Chalk River and AECL, world leading nuclear research in medical isotopes and other applications beyond energy. And we have the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) which is increasingly being viewed as an innovator and leading exemplar in nuclear regulation by emerging economies and jurisdictions that need to model their own regulatory regimes.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act has spurred wind and solar energy. Cumulatively, renewables represent a single digit percentage of our energy mix. There are thousands of jobs related to renewables, depending on how you count them. This is wonderful news as renewable energy represents an important part of the energy mix. The Westinghouse OPG agreement reminds us that Ontario’s existing nuclear industry, expertise and workforce are an order of magnitude larger than the current renewable industry.

The full press release may be viewed at .

Henry Vehovec
Chair, Future of Nuclear Advisory Board
President, Mindfirst Inc.

ADM Rick Jennings to speak re LTEP at Future of Nuclear Seminar on January 21

Rick Jennings, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Energy, Ontario, will speak about Ontario’s recently released Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) and the role of nuclear energy as part of that plan at this year’s first Future of Nuclear Seminar on January 21. The LTEP report entitled Achieving Balance addresses the growing role of renewables in the energy mix, the ongoing need for safe, reliable base load energy and the export business development potential for the nuclear industry. This session is targeted at senior executives and stakeholders that would like an opportunity to engage in a private dialogue regarding important nuclear energy issues in an objective, collaborative learning environment.

The Future of Nuclear Advisory Board has organized a series of six seminars to be held through 2014 to discuss important nuclear energy issues. The dates for the 2014 seminars are January 2, March 4, May 6, June 24, September 23 and November 4. Topics and speakers for each session will be announced on this Future of Nuclear website, the Future of Nuclear Conference Facebook page, the @futureofnuclear twitter feed and via our direct newsletter which you may register for by clicking here.  Seminars are conducted during lunch in meeting rooms at Torys, 79 Wellington St. W, 30th Floor, Toronto, ON. You may register for the first event by clicking here. Subscriptions for the entire six seminars are available, please Contact Us if interested.

The Future of Nuclear Series is funded by the registration fees of participants, revenues from resultant reports and the support of sponsors. Supporters to date include Babcock and Wilcox, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), McMaster University, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Power Workers’ Union, Torys, University of Toronto, and Westinghouse. The Seminar Series is organized by Mindfirst Inc. under the direction of Future of Nuclear Advisory Board chaired by Henry Vehovec, Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto, Innovations in Technologies and Organizations in Global Energy Systems. Seminars are conducted under Chatham House Rule format. If interested in volunteering as part of the Mindfirst team, part of the Advisory Board, or sponsoring the Future of Nuclear Seminar Series please contact us.

Debate re National Bank Report: “The Nuclear Power Sector’s Dim Prospects”

Earlier this month National Bank released a report with entitled “The Nuclear Power Sector’s Dim Prospects”. This report provides a wonderful opening position to start a debate on the often polarizing topic of nuclear energy. As the report points out, several jurisdictions such as Germany are shutting down their nuclear plants, while others such as China and India are growing their number of nuclear reactors. When is it appropriate to decommission reactors? When is it time to build new or refurbish? What are the benefits of nuclear power? How realistic are the concerns about radiation, proliferation and meltdown? Can the world possibly reign in GHGs without nuclear playing an important role in the global energy mix? Comments welcome. Please view the linked report and let’s start the debate.

Click here to view the report.

Update re. AECL and The Future of Chalk River


The Pembroke Observer
Thu Nov 21 2013
Page: A1
Section: News
PETAWAWA -The company hoping to operate Atomic Energy of Canada Limited’s Chalk River Laboratories strengthened its bid Tuesday as it entered into a partnership with two world-leading nuclear and research and development firms.
The Babcock and Wilcox Company, which is seeking to take over management of Chalk River under a government-owned, contractor operated model (Go-Co), announced they will be forming a consortium with Cavendish Nuclear, a major player in Britain’s nuclear industry, and Battelle Memorial Institute, a U.S.-based nonprofit research and development organization.
Delivering the announcement during a reception at the Petawawa Golf Club, Ken Camplin, Babcock and Wilcox vice-president of corporate development, lauded both firms for bringing to the table a vast array of experience and an incredible track record of innovation.
Since Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced in February that the federal government would engage in a competitive procurement process to contract out the management of AECL assets to the private sector, Camplin said his company has been developing a venture that had a shared vision and commitment for Chalk River Laboratories.
To that end, the firm has been proactive, opening offices in Deep River as it pursues the Go-Co model for Chalk River. Camplin added he feels AECL president Dr. Bob Walker has been on the right track with a transformation that should see a cost-effective, world-class research and technology organization focused on serving the nuclear industry.
“We really believe the keys to the kingdom rest in executing science and technology with excellence and equally important growing the science and technology and the research and development portfolio in a deliberate and sustained fashion,” said Camplin. “We want to be the best possible agents and facilitators for Chalk River to really obtain all those things.”
Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Babcock and Wilcox Company provides design, engineering, construction and facilities management services to nuclear, fossil power, industrial and government customers worldwide. Its Canadian offices are located in Cambridge, Ontario and currently provides operations to four national laboratories.
Cavendish Nuclear operates three nuclear sites in the U.K. that the company states are similar to Chalk River. Its expertise rests in the design and building of waste treatment facilities. The firm also looks after the British-made Victoria class submarines that had been sold to Canada.
“We’re quite pleased to team up with world-class lab operators and a world-class consortium to address Chalk River,” said Andrew Wettern, business development director for Cavendish.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, the Battelle Memorial Institute is an international science and technology enterprise that explores emerging areas of science, develops and commercializes technology, and manages laboratories for its clients. It currently manages seven national laboratories in the U.S. Ron Townsend, executive vice-president of global laboratory operations, said Chalk River has a rich history in the development of the nuclear industry.
“Chalk River is held in high regard by the scientific collaborators that work for it but the future is not certain,” said Townsend.
He added Chalk River and the surrounding community has all the elements for a successful way forward.
“We have an aspiration that Chalk River will become Chalk River National Laboratory,” said Townsend. “The most important thing that we can do is to stabilize Chalk River National Laboratory and provide a confident, secure future for that laboratory because it is so important to this community and the nation of Canada.”
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia
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