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Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada makes progress on nuclear densometer proposal

Patricia Williams

The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies-Canada (ACEC) is making yards in its campaign against a proposal by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

“that would cost our industry millions of dollars with no benefit to society or Canadian taxpayers,” says retiring chair Herb Kuehne.

As originally drafted, the proposal would require firms to provide a financial guarantee to cover costs associated with the disposal of CNSC — licensed nuclear densometers in the event of bankruptcy or termination of operations.

The proposed guarantees include a $10,000 administration fee on each licence and an additional $3,000 per each device. ACEC said the potential costs for some of its member firms could be crippling.

“Working together with the Canadian Council of Independent Laboratories, we have been successful in delaying the implementation of these changes,” Kuehne said in a report prepared for the association’s annual general meeting.

“We are now working with the CNSC to develop commercially viable and and realistic means to protect taxpayers.”

As a result, the nuclear safety commission has cancelled previously scheduled public hearings until it has had an opportunity to consider alternatives developed by the stakeholder community.

An independent assessment is to be undertaken of the potential risks to Canadian taxpayers in the event of a firm’s inability to safely terminate licensed activities and thus dispose of sealed portable densometers.

“As originally conceived, this proposal would have posed an enormous financial hardship for some of our members,” ACEC president John Gamble said in an interview.

“But the CNSC, to its credit, has listened to us and acknowledged our concerns,” he added.

“They are prepared to work with the industry and give us an opportunity to come up with some different options on how we might achieve the public policy objectives of ensuring taxpayers aren’t on the hook for the safe disposal of such devices.”

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