theglobeandmail.com: Canadian Press - March 10, 2009
OTTAWA — Federal funding for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. has tripled since the Conservative government of Stephen Harper came to power in 2006.
Figures provided to The Canadian Press by Natural Resources Canada show that taxpayers will pour more than $1.2-billion into the Crown corporation during the fiscal year just ending and the one set to begin April 1.
The cash influx comes at a crucial time for AECL, which is in a life-or-death bidding war to build new, next-generation nuclear reactors in Ontario.
The Conservative government is also sitting on a study it commissioned that reportedly recommends privatizing a majority stake in AECL.
Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt says that several policy drivers favour increased federal support for the nuclear industry, including environmental goals, industrial development and value to taxpayers as “shareholders.”
But critics argue Ottawa is putting good money after bad, especially if it plans to sell off the profitable parts of AECL to the private sector.