The face of AECL's future?
SEAN CHASE/DAILY OBSERVER As part of their bid to operate Chalk River Laboratories, Babcock and Wilcox Canada Limited has entered into a partnership with Cavendish Nuclear and Battelle Memorial Institute with a ceremonial cake cutting at the Petawawa Golf Club Tuesday. In the photo (left to right) Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet, Laurentian Hills Mayor Dick Rabishaw, Head, Clara, Maria Reeve Tammy Stewart, Ken Camplin, vice-president corporate development for Babcock and Wilcox, Ron Townsend, executive vice-president global laboratory operations for Battelle, and Andrew Wettern, business development director for Cavendish Nuclear.
The company hoping to operate Atomic Energy of Canada Limited's Chalk River Laboratories strengthened their bid Tuesday as they 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 build 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 journalist