Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Candu scientists walk off job

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TORONTO -- Candu Energy Inc. enacted a contingency plan Monday after about 800 nuclear scientists, engineers and technologists went 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 are not enough people to replace us, so work will definitely be impacted," union spokeswoman Michelle Duncan said.

Duncan said Candu employees have stopped ongoing safety analysis performed on reactors, and aren't available to make 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 have an 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 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," she said.

Candu is owned by Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC).

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2012 B7

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