Safety commission renews licence for Point Lepreau nuclear station for 10-year term

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A federal commission has renewed N.B. Power's licence to operate its Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station for a 10-year term. (Shane Fowler/CBC - image credit)
A federal commission has renewed N.B. Power's licence to operate its Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station for a 10-year term. (Shane Fowler/CBC - image credit)

A federal commission has given N.B. Power the all-clear to continue producing nuclear energy in southern New Brunswick for at least another 10 years — a much shorter term than N.B. Power was seeking.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission announced Wednesday it was renewing the Crown utility's licence to operate the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station following a two-part public hearing held earlier this year.

The commission, in a news release, said it considered written and oral submissions from N.B. Power, commission staff, and 243 intervenors, which included Indigenous and industry stakeholders.

"After reviewing all submissions, the Commission concluded that N.B. Power is qualified to carry on the activities that the renewed licence will authorize," the commission said.

"It also concluded that N.B. Power will make adequate provision for the protection of the environment, and the health and safety of persons."

N.B. Power originally requested a 25-year term in its renewal application, and the commission said it decided a 10-year licence was more appropriate given the strong public interest in the hearing process "and the need to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Nations and communities."

The commission said it also directed its own staff and N.B. Power to each present a comprehensive update to the commission on the licensed activities at the generating station, including "key issues raised during the hearing," at the mid-point of the licence term.

Tony Crawford/N.B. Power
Tony Crawford/N.B. Power

The commission said its summary decision is only being released at this time in order to meet the June 30 deadline for the current licence.

The commission said the detailed reasons for its decisions and its assessment of all the submissions made will be published at a later date.

N.B. Power open to ongoing dialogue

No one from N.B. Power was available for an interview Wednesday, but Brett Plummer, chief nuclear officer at NB Power said in a statement the company was pleased with the renewal.

"This decision represents the longest-term licence for Point Lepreau to date, and we are pleased," Plummer said.

"Licence renewal is a very thorough and balanced process, and we understand the many complex perspectives and attributes that are required to be carefully considered."

Plummer also thanked the persons and organizations that took part in the renewal process.

"We heard valuable feedback and we are committed to ongoing dialogue on Station operations and areas of interest."

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