Point Lepreau nuclear power station licence hearings resume in Saint John

Click to play video: 'Final phase of Point Lepreau Generating Station public hearings begin'
Final phase of Point Lepreau Generating Station public hearings begin
The fate of NB Power’s operating licence at Point Lepreau Generating Station will be heavily impacted this week. The second and final phase of public hearings began in Saint John. Robert Lothian reports. – May 10, 2022

Phase 2 of the public hearing for NB Power’s licence renewal application for the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station got underway Tuesday in Saint John.

NB Power continued to plead its case to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a first-in-Canada 25-year renewal that would see operations continue into 2047.

Representatives for the corporation said this timeframe would take Point Lepreau to the end of its expected lifespan.

However, the CNSC maintained recommendations for a 20-year licence, stating no new information has been brought forward to alter its recommendation since the first stage of hearings in January.

CNSC staff noted a 20-year renewal is based on refurbishments made to the station that allow it to meet environmental and safety regulations.

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Members of the Passamaquoddy Recognition Group stated concerns over the corporation’s inaction following periods of dialogue.

Point Lepreau, which is located on the Peskotomuhkati Nation, faces questions about the long-term impacts of the station.

Representative Kim Reeder said they recommend the commission grant a three-year licence instead.

“We want to form a relationship, we want the relationship to keep going, so the three years is a gimme. It’s like, we know you can’t do it right away, that would be impossible and very difficult. Let’s work towards our goal in the next three years,” Reeder told Global News.

In response to the concerns, Jason Nouwens, NB Power director of regulatory and external affairs, remarked on efforts they make to consult the community.

“We strive day to day to run a very rigorous program to really engage with our community of all natures to understand the concerns and work collaboratively going forward, and whether our licence is 20 years or 25 years, that commitment is unwavering day to day to make sure we’re reaching out as much as we can,” said Nouwens.

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Phase 2 of the public hearing is set to continue on Wednesday and conclude Thursday.

The current Point Lepreau operating licence is slated to end on June 30.

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