Atomic Sludge Monster Devours Edmonton!!

Jo Peacenik

It's tough times for the nuclear biz. So tough in fact, that industry stalwart Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) has changed its name to the more innocuous Nordion International Inc. Atomic? Who, us?

It's no secret that AECL's main product, the Candu nuclear reactor, is so far into a sales slump that the government of Canada has to pay foreign governments to take a Candu off the crown corp's hands. Even with the freebies, AECL has unloaded just one Candu in the last ten years, to the unsavoury South Korean regime. Before that, its best customer was Nicolae Caeusescu's slave state of Rumania.

No wonder AECL wants to diversify. But new schemes to keep the nuke industry afloat make you wonder what AECL (sorry, Nordion) is feeding to its marketing geniuses.

After a recent push by the company to bombard food with gamma rays as a preservative method (“good, fresh food, only a smidgeon radioactive”) flopped bigtime, AECL/Nordion came up with Another Winner: sludge irradiation.

The plan is to build a demonstration plant in Edmonton to irradiate sludge scooped out of the city's sewers, dry it, bag it, and sell it around the world as fertilizer.

Why Edmonton? “We needed a very good quality sludge, and from a quality point of view, the Edmonton sludge rated very high -- top of the line,” enthused project manager Joan Swinwood. And, she added, it would even be a tourist attraction.

From The ACTivist, May 1991, Vol. 7, Issue 5



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