Former N.B. energy minister joins nuclear industry after resigning in June

A former New Brunswick cabinet minister who resigned in June is joining AtkinsRéalis, a Montreal-based company previously known as SNC-Lavalin Group.

Mike Holland, who was natural resources and energy development minister and MLA for the riding of Albert, announced at the end of June that he was quitting to pursue a job in the private sector.

Holland will be joining the AtkinsRéalis team as the director of business development for North America.

The company told Radio-Canada the reason it recruited the former minister was to help increase sales of its nuclear reactor models and invest in the development of small modular reactors.

In a statement, the company said it's "working to accelerate" sales of its Candu reactors in Canada and internationally.

The SNC-Lavalin headquarters is seen in Montreal on February 12, 2019. SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. announced the nomination of three new members to its board of directors as part of a renewal process at the company. The company says Gary Baughman, Chris Clark and Mike Pederson will stand for election at the company's annual meeting on May 7. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
AtkinsRéalis, formerly SNC-Lavalin, is headquartered in Montreal. New Brunswick's former minister of natural resources and energy development accepted a job offer with the company. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Candu technology, according to the AtkinsRéalis website, is a Canadian pressurized heavy-water reactor design. The reactors have the ability to co-produce medical isotopes for diagnostic imaging, cancer treatment and to sterilize medical supplies, the website says.

One of these reactors is at the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station, while the other 18 in Canada are in Ontario.

Holland referred an interview request from Radio-Canada to the AtkinsRéalis communications department.

The company told Radio-Canada that Holland would not lobby the New Brunswick government in his new role. It said that he has been given direction in his new role by the New Brunswick integrity commissioner.

When Holland announced his resignation from the New Brunswick government, he said the company he accepted an offer from is not a company he dealt with in his role as a minister, nor as an MLA.

The CANDU reactor at Point Lepreau is one of 19 operating in Canada, while the other 18 are located in Ontario.
The Candu reactor at Point Lepreau is one of 19 operating in Canada. The other 18 are located in Ontario. (Marc Godbout/Radio-Canada)

However, AtkinsRéalis, then known as SNC-Lavalin, announced a partnership with Moltex Energy Canada in 2022 and Holland was quoted in the news release at the time.

"This agreement contributes not only to the growth of long-term, high-quality jobs in New Brunswick's energy sector, it also recognizes the leadership role of both Moltex and the province in advancing the next generation of nuclear technology," he said in the 2022 release.