06/26/2015 11:03 EDT | Updated 06/26/2016 01:12 EDT

Ottawa selects engineering group as preferred bidder for nuclear laboratories

MONTREAL - Ottawa has selected a group of nuclear engineering firms as the preferred bidder to operate its nuclear laboratory in eastern Ontario that is one of the world's largest producers of medical isotopes.Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford says the Canadian National Energy Alliance was chosen to manage and operate Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), a subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., after a competitive bidding process.The consortium includes SNC-Lavalin (TSX:SNC), CH2M HILL Canada Ltd., Fluor Government Group Canada Inc., EnergySolutions Canada Group Ltd. and Rolls-Royce Civil Nuclear Canada Ltd.CNL employs about 3,300 people, mostly at the Chalk River Laboratories, whose nuclear reactor is slated to be decommissioned in 2018.The federal government has been looking for a private operator of the troubled facility — which has been in operation since 1957 — as part of its restructuring of the Atomic Energy of Canada.In 2011, it sold the AECL division that produces Candu nuclear power plants to SNC-Lavalin for $15 million plus royalties.