Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Candu Energy Enacts Contingency Plans as Workers Hit the Picket Lines

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Candu Energy Enacts Contingency Plans as Workers Hit the Picket Lines

Article excerpt

Strike won't affect power plants: Candu


TORONTO - Candu Energy Inc. enacted a contingency plan Monday after about 800 nuclear scientists, engineers and technologists walked off the job on strike when negotiators failed to reach a deal by the deadline.

But the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates, which represents the workers, said there will be a noticeable effect on operations.

"There's not enough people to replace us, so work will definitely be impacted," union spokeswoman Michelle Duncan said.

Duncan said Candu employees have stopped the ongoing safety analysis that's performed on reactors, and are not available to make any repairs to the reactors.

"These guys have a design expertise," said Duncan. "Imagine how complex a nuclear reactor is. If something is irregular, you want to go back to the designers."

Duncan said the work stoppage may also have a trickle-down effect on companies that manufacture the components for the reactors, if fewer contracts are being carried out.

Candu spokeswoman Katherine Ward said he company does not operate any nuclear power plants so the strike action should have no impact on the day-to-day operations at the plants.

"We've implemented extensive contingency plans to deliver on our customer priorities, and have been talking to our customers almost continually since before the strike began," said Ward.

Candu is owned by Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC), and its employees design, build and service nuclear reactors that supply nearly half of Ontario's electricity and 16 per cent of Canada's overall electricity requirements.

The company has operations in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. Reactors designed by Candu supply more than 22,000 megawatts of power at sites around the world.

The union has said the main sticking points in the labour dispute involved wages and seniority.

SPEA president Peter White said a key issue is what he calls the company's desire to move away from nuclear industry standards and compensate its employees differently from other workers in the field. …

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