ATS wins new assignment from Atomic Energy of Canada
CAMBRIDGE, ON, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. today announced that it has been selected by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited ("AECL") to provide automated equipment for the CANDU reactor refurbishment program at the Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant in South Korea.
This order is strategically important because it represents the start of another major AECL assignment and it is ATS's first involvement in an AECL nuclear refurbishment project outside Canada. This new multi-million dollar assignment is expected to lead to sizeable add-on orders as AECL's CANDU refurbishment activity progresses at Wolsong. Nuclear refurbishment is a new automation market for ATS, however with the orders received to date, primarily for installation in Canada, AECL has already provided ATS with one of the largest automation program mandates in the Company's history.
"Nuclear plant refurbishment, in partnership with AECL, is rapidly becoming a major global automation market opportunity and in less than 2 years has already generated over $45 million in orders for ATS," said Ron Jutras, ATS President and CEO. "By deploying our skills and developing the required expertise to serve AECL, ATS is very well positioned for further orders over a number of years with a valued, strategic customer. With world-leading CANDU technology and a major installed base, AECL is exceptionally well situated to win new nuclear refurbishment assignments around the world. We are very optimistic about our prospects for additional AECL work on planned CANDU refurbishments in the future."
The Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant, owned by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company ("KHNP"), hosts four CANDU 6 units designed by AECL. Wolsong 1 went into service in 1983. Due to outstanding lifetime performance (85% overall) of Wolsong Unit 1, KHNP plans to retube the reactor in 2009 with AECL as the prime contractor for design, equipment supply and installation.
Said Mr. Dave Scott, AECL Vice President of Candu 6 Retube. "ATS's leading automation skills and capabilities complement the expertise of AECL extremely well and as a result, ATS is helping us to meet our commitment to safe, on time and on budget service. In over 70 individual orders for AECL, they have provided world class automation technology, engineering and manufacturing and supplied equipment of significant scale, complexity and sophistication necessary to serve this market."
In the first stage of Wolsong refurbishment, ATS has been contracted to provide a volume reduction system. This automated equipment extracts the reactor core channels and crushes them into a waste container. Additional automation will be required to complete the retubing process, as evidenced by recent AECL refurbishment projects involving ATS at Bruce Power and the Point Lepreau Generating Station. ATS automation equipment is now being shipped for installation at Point Lepreau in New Brunswick and some automated equipment supplied by ATS is already in operation at Bruce Power's generating station in Ontario.
For more information on how AECL and ATS are working together on the Point Lepreau project, an informative video produced by AECL will be available on the ATS website late today.
AECL and ATS Automation
Over the past two years, ATS has made a significant commitment to developing its relationship with AECL. As a result, AECL contracted ATS to set up a 15,000 sq.ft. mock-up of a CANDU 6 nuclear reactor to serve as a primary retubing testing facility where automated retubing tools and processes can be simulated and validated. This facility is now in operation at ATS's Cambridge, Ontario location. ATS has worked closely with AECL to develop a number of refurbishment tools which are expected to be utilized in each CANDU nuclear facility that undergoes refurbishment.
Retubing is a critical feature of AECL's reactor refurbishment process, which improves the performance of CANDU plants and significantly extends their productive lives. CANDU reactors that entered service in the 1980s are coming due for refurbishment now through 2020 and through retubing, can expect to perform at optimal levels for another 20-25 years. As the design owner of 33 CANDU reactors now in service, AECL is ideally positioned to provide refurbishing solutions.
Said Mr. Jutras: "We are proud of the expertise that ATS has developed in this sophisticated field and of our close working partnership with AECL, a world leader in nuclear technology. We look forward to applying this expertise and continuing to grow our business for many years to come with this valued and strategic customer."
AECL is a full-service nuclear technology company providing services to nuclear utilities around the world. Established in 1952, AECL is the designer and builder of CANDU technology.
AECL specializes in a range of advanced nuclear-energy products and services that are an important component of clean-air energy programs on four continents. AECL's 5,000+ employees provide research and development, support, design and engineering, construction management, specialized technology, refurbishment, waste management and decommissioning in support of CANDU reactor products. More information on AECL, CANDU Services and CANDU
technology can be found at www.aecl.ca.
ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. provides innovative, custom designed, built and installed manufacturing solutions to many of the world's most successful companies. Founded in 1978, ATS uses its industry-leading knowledge and global capabilities to serve the sophisticated automation systems' needs of multinational customers in industries such as healthcare, computer/electronics, automotive and consumer products. It also leverages its many years of repetitive manufacturing experience and skills to fulfill the specialized repetitive equipment manufacturing requirements of customers. Through its Photowatt solar business, ATS participates in the growing solar energy industry and through its precision components business it produces, in high volume, precision components and subassemblies. ATS employs approximately 3,500 people at 24 manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States, Europe, southeast Asia and China. The Company's shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol ATA. Visit the Company's website at www.atsautomation.com.
Forward Looking Statement
This news release contains certain statements that constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws ("forward-looking statements"). Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of ATS, or developments in ATS's business or in its industry, to differ materially from the anticipated results,
performance, achievements or developments expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include all disclosure regarding possible events, conditions or results of operations that is based on assumptions about future economic conditions and courses of action. Forward-looking statements may also include, without limitation, any statement relating to future events, conditions or circumstances. ATS cautions you not to place undue reliance upon any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made. Forward-looking statements relate to, among other things: automation opportunity ahead in nuclear plant refurbishments; the expectation that the assignment referenced in the news release will lead to sizeable add-on orders; nuclear plant refurbishment, in partnership with AECL, rapidly becoming a major global automation market opportunity; ATS's positioning for further orders over a number of years; ATS's prospects for additional AECL work on planned CANDU refurbishments; KHNP's plans to retube its reactor at Wolsong, South Korea, the timing thereof and expectation that AECL will be the prime contractor for aspects thereof; the expectation that automation in addition to volume reduction equipment will be required to complete the retubing process at the Wolsong, South Korea facility; the expectation that refurbishment tools developed by ATS with AECL will be utilized in each CANDU nuclear facility that undergoes refurbishment; CANDU reactors coming due for refurbishment and timeline therefor; the positioning of AECL to provide refurbishing solutions and win refurbishment assignments; the continued growth of ATS's business with AECL. The risks and uncertainties that may affect forward-looking statements include, among others: the possibility that expected add-on orders for automation and other products do not materialize as a result of changes in market conditions, the entrance of new competitors, changes in project requirements or other reasons; the possibility that ATS's positioning in the market does not lead to further orders because of difficulties in deploying or developing required expertise or other reasons; the possibility that refurbishment of the nuclear facility at Wolsong, South Korea does not proceed in the manner and on the schedule currently anticipated; the possibility that automation developed by ATS and AECL is not used for refurbishment projects because of process changes, alternative solutions, or other reasons; the possibility that CANDU reactors do not come due for refurbishment as soon as anticipated; the possibility that operators of CANDU reactors delay or withdraw from nuclear facility refurbishment and construction for business, political, economic or other reasons; risks associated with operating and servicing customers in a foreign country; and other risks detailed from time to time in ATS's filings with Canadian provincial securities regulators. Forward-looking statements are based on management's current plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions, and ATS does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements should assumptions related to these plans, estimates, projections, beliefs and opinions change.
For further information:
Carl Galloway, Vice President and Treasurer
Gerry Beard, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer