Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure the hon. member and all Canadians that before any full scale project involving the Bruce reactors could proceed, it would be subject to a full assessment and licensing approval of relevant federal and provincial safety, health and environmental regulatory authorities.
The approval process would include provisions for public input. If the requirements for public health and safety could not be met a MOX fuel project involving Canadian based CANDU reactors would not proceed.
Let me emphasize why Canada supports in principle the MOX fuel initiative. Weapons usable plutonium in Russia and the United States could present a clear danger because it can be remade into nuclear weapons.
The use of MOX fuel in power reactors for the generation of electricity would represent a tangible contribution to world peace and security.
Some may ask why the U.S. does not use MOX fuel in its own reactors. The U.S. has included its own light water reactors as well as Canadian based CANDU reactors in its final list of options. It has included CANDU reactors in its final list because it offers the
possibility of the disposing of both Russian and U.S. plutonium in symmetry in a trusted third country.
AECL has tested fuel at its labs over the last 30 years. The MOX fuel performance test at Chalk River laboratories' NRU reactor is required in order to ensure that the MOX fuel is suitable for use in CANDU reactors.
The AECB will be assessing the details of the test program and it will proceed only if the AECB confirms that plutonium will remain secure and that there will be no health risks to the workers at the Chalk River laboratories, to the public or to the environment.
In conclusion, I reiterate that Canada has a role to play in enhancing world peace and security. This could include playing a role, as a trusted third party, in helping to ensure that weapons usable plutonium in Russia and the U.S.-