German giant Siemens bails out of nuclear power, but Canada's SNC-Lavalin charges ahead

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      The BBC has reported that the German engineering company Siemens is withdrawing from the nuclear-power industry.

      This comes after German chancellor Angela Merkel announced earlier this year that her country will phase out all nuclear reactors by 2022.

      Merkel, unlike most world leaders, is a scientist, having obtained a PhD after writing a thesis on quantum chemistry.

      Siemens built all 17 of Germany's nuclear-power plants, according to the BBC story. It cited the Fukushima nuclear-power disaster in March as the major impetus behind the decision. It will also pull out of a joint venture with a Russian nuclear company.

      It's becoming increasingly clear that the Fukushima nuclear crisis is as bad if not worse than the Chernobyl reactor explosion in 1986 near Kiev, Ukraine. This is apparent from a recent news story by former Vancouver reporter Steve Chao, who's now working for Al Jazeera.

      Steve Chao reports on the extent of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

      Meanwhile, Canada has shown no indication that will discourage the proliferation of nuclear power.

      The federal government recently sold the commercial operations of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. to Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin for $15 million.

      Then the SNC-Lavalin subsidiary, Candu Energy Inc., and the Crown-owned Atomic Energy of Canadareached a $440-million deal with Argentina's nuclear-power plant to refurbish a Candu reactor there.

      "We look forward to expanding our cooperation with the Argentinian nuclear industry, not only for this refurbishment project but for future nuclear projects in Argentina, elsewhere in South America and in the global market,” SNC-Lavalin executive vice-president Patrick Lamarre declared in a news release.

      In an unrelated development, the RCMP raided SNC-Lavalin's office in Oakville, Ontario earlier this month. This was in connection with an investigation into alleged corruption on a World Bank–funded bridge project in Bangladesh.

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      Sep 18, 2011 at 11:21am

      Does it ever stop Charlie - the junk science from the same sources that global warming deniers use.

      The worldwide average background dose for a human being is about 3 millisievert (mSv) per year. Folks in Ramsar,Iran with peak yearly dose of 260 mSv have a lower incidence of cancer than average. Other peer reviewed studies published in reputable journal have found the same results in folks that lived in radiation environments as high as 900 mSV per annum. How about the 600-700 msv a year in some south western parts of France and parts of Brazil, the 50 msv a year for nuclear plant workers. or the 10 msv a year in Denver ?

      The radiation levels all over Japan are far less than those yet some exceed the 20 msv a year, the restriction now imposed for determining evacuation zones in Fukushima (and 1 msv a year for children?

      Radiation levels in Chernobyl far exceed anything at Fukushima not even close.

      Chernobyl was a failed weapons grade plutonium extraction experiment from a ancient 50's design nuke weapon plant, and Fukushima was caused by a tidal wave hitting an ancient 50's design nuke plant with corruption weakened tidal wave defense. Neither accident had anything to do with Candu's or Siemens reactors or modern nuclear power.

      Germany's exit from nuclear power in the most regulated industry in Germany is pure politics based on the influence of green's on low information voters who it seems want to build a bunch of coal and gas plant to replace the nukes. Perhaps it is that German's propensity for mass murder - what the Luftwaffe didn't get they are hoping all that coal and gas pollution will do the job.

      Siemens sells lotsa wind and solar in Germany. It's good business to be out of nukes for them. Greenie influenced politicians are unlikely to be ordering wind turbines from a nuclear supplier.

      Aside from a few hoped for refurbs of old Candu nukes SNC AECL is likely out of the nuke business. SNC and the Harper government want to build gas plants and every nuke they can displace is $500M more annually in the pockets of their Big Oil benefactors.

      R. Andreas Kraemer

      Sep 18, 2011 at 12:12pm

      There is no business case for nuclear power anywhere in the world. Siemens seems to have understood that, and has now acted accordings. Without subsidies, privileges, and liability caps or waivers not one nuclear plant would run today, no new ones would be built, and all existing ones would be turned off. (Just try to insure a plant on the commercial market, and find out that the risks are such that nuclear power plants are not insurable.) Canada, the US and the EU should admit their errors concerning nuclear power and proliferation, calling them "costly mistakes", commit to investing in renewable energies and smart grids, phase out nuclear power, initiate negotiations to amend the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the Statute of the IAEA, and thus, in the interest of reducing the high security policy price of nuclear power, change the context for dealing with governments with aggressive nuclear programs such as Iran, North Korea or Pakistan.
      For details see or