Tag Archives: NB Power

Messages Nuclear Energy Nuclear Safety

The Point Lepreau Generating Station is Seismically Robust and Safe

Below is a press release from NB Power correcting misinformation being circulated about the safety of their facility at Point Lepreau.

We echo the sentiments of NB Power Site VP & CNO, Sean Granville, when he says that our industry is one of most (if not THE most) closely regulated industries in Canada. Nuclear safety is not something we take lightly, it’s part of our culture.

Please read on for the straight facts on the matter.

The Point Lepreau Generating Station is seismically robust and safe

February 6, 2013

Fredericton, N.B. – NB Power takes exception to comments made today about the safety of the Point Lepreau Generating Station (PLGS) by the Conservation Council of New Brunswick (CCNB) Action Committee.

“These comments are misleading and attempt to undermine public trust in nuclear safety regulation and in the Point Lepreau Generating Station,” said Sean Granville, Site Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer. “The nuclear industry is one of Canada’s most closely regulated industries and its safety record is excellent and very transparent to the public. The people of New Brunswick can take great confidence in the safety of Point Lepreau.”

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) regulatory framework relies, in part, on International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines. On the basis of that framework, the CNSC sets licensing conditions for PLGS, which also includes meeting various Canadian standards. The Station meets or exceeds the specifications required under its federal licence. Comments made today by CCNB take highly technical seismic data about Point Lepreau out of context.

“We understand that the CCNB is not in favor of nuclear power and they of course are entirely entitled to hold that opinion,” said Granville. “However, NB Power is fully committed to operating the Station in a safe and responsible manner while meeting all licence and safety requirements.”

As stated by the CNSC, all Canadian nuclear power plants, existing or new, are licensed on the basis of their proven ability to withstand seismic events like earthquakes. Structures and systems have been designed to safely survive earthquakes and the CNSC ensures that all nuclear power plant licensees comply with regulatory requirements. In Canada, reactor sites are geologically screened to ensure they are constructed in a location that is seismically stable.

PLGS is located in an area of much lower seismic hazard risk than Fukushima. It is well within the North American plate and not located at a subduction tectonic plate boundary as is the case in Japan. The Station was designed to withstand potential earthquakes; both the actual structures that form containment and the systems important to safety have been seismically qualified prior to being granted a licence to operate. In addition, a
number of upgrades to the plant were made as part of the recent Refurbishment Project to further enhance seismic safety.

When the CNSC renewed PLGS’s Power Reactor Operating Licence in February 2012, the Commission made the completion of a site-specific seismic hazard assessment a condition of the Station’s licence renewal.

Since early 2012, PLGS staff have worked with experts on the site-specific seismic hazard assessment. Seasonal factors make it impossible to complete all data gathering until the summer of 2013, which means the final assessment report will be issued in 2014. Meanwhile, the preliminary findings offer reassurance about the safety of the Station.

Data included in this study is highly technical information, and NB Power – in reporting to the CNSC – relies on independent, highly qualified experts to conduct this type of work. Additionally, the assessment is reviewed by an independent panel of experts.

Preliminary findings of the seismic assessment received from third-party experts in December 2012 indicate that the current understanding of the earthquake hazard for the Point Lepreau site is not substantially different than that presented in a 1984 study. More information on the preliminary findings is available here.

Based on these findings; we are confident that the original safety case for PLGS remains as strong today as it was when the Station was constructed. The Station is sound and will continue to operate safely. New Brunswickers should be assured that NB Power takes its responsibilities to the people of New Brunswick as its utmost priority and puts the safety of employees and the public above everything else.

- 30 -

MEDIA CONTACT: Kathleen Duguay, Manager, Public Affairs, (506) 647-8057 or kduguay@nbpower.com.

CNA Responds Nuclear Energy Nuclear Pride

NB Power Point Lepreau Generating Station Resumes Commercial Operations

November 23, 2012, Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) congratulates NB Power on the return to commercial service of its Point Lepreau Generating Station. The completion of this refurbishment project means an additional 25-30 years of continued safe, reliable, clean air energy for New Brunswick and surrounding export customers.

“The completed refurbishment and return to commercial operations of the Point Lepreau Generating Station is a great accomplishment,” says Heather Kleb, Interim President and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association. “Point Lepreau is an essential part of New Brunswick’s long-term energy policy and will help ensure the province achieves its goal of having 75 per cent of its electricity coming from clean, low-carbon sources by 2020.”

Point Lepreau is a foundational piece of NB Power’s domestic energy supply and export sales, and provides rate stability. The refurbishment of the Point Lepreau Generating Station positions NB Power once again as a utility with a world-class nuclear facility and the highly skilled work force required to operate it.

The Canadian nuclear industry supports the employment of 30,000 Canadians who are responsible for generating electricity, mining uranium, advancing nuclear medicine, and promoting Canada’s global leadership in science and technology innovation. Through these efforts, we also support 30,000 spin-off jobs and contribute to Canada’s supply of reliable, affordable power.

-30-

Background:
NB Power declares the Point Lepreau Generating Station commercially operational: http://www.nbpower.com/html/en/about/media/media_release/pdfs/ENPLSGNovember232012.pdf

Messages Nuclear Energy Nuclear Outreach Nuclear Pride

Nuclear Power as a Foundation for a Sustainable Energy Future

Recently we were asked by the Canada West Foundation (CWF) to provide a guest blog post about nuclear for their Let’s Talk Energy blog — an initiative under the CWF’s Powering Up for the Future project. The post is basically a nuclear primer for an audience which may not be familiar with all of the benefits and contributions of the technology.

Let us know what you think!

Nuclear Power as a Foundation for a Sustainable Energy Future

Originally posted at Let’s Talk Energy

Given recent events in Japan, the first thing that anyone wants to know about Canadian nuclear is: Is it safe? The answer is yes, and I’ll tell you why.

Safety is our number one priority. Canada’s nuclear power operations have a proven track record of being among the safest in the world. They are highly monitored, stringently regulated and continuously improved through the daily efforts of qualified professionals who are committed to ensuring public safety. In over 45 years of operation there has not been a single significant incident at a Canadian facility.

Our industry continues to make investments and improvements as part of our ‘Safety First’ culture. In response to the Fukushima accident, Bruce Power has taken concrete action on a number of fronts following the events in Japan. For example, they recently announced the re-organization of their emergency response organization, which involves approximately 400 employees who form the basis of their industry-leading emergency response capability. Building on lessons learned from the Fukushima event is a top priority for our industry.

At Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a four-month examination of its nuclear operations following the events in Japan uncovered no major safety issues. OPG carefully studied the safety of its facilities and re-evaluated the potential of unlikely events such earthquakes, severe flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, fire and ice storms having major impacts on nuclear operations. The studies showed that the plants continued to be safe, but as part of continuous improvement OPG will make investments to increase safety margins during these unlikely events. This includes accelerating the installation of hydrogen recombiners and the purchase of additional back up generation and diesel pumps.

Currently there are 17 operational CANDU reactors in Canada that supply 15% of all electricity in Canada. This 15% means the potential emission of 90 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year is avoided. Imagine, without nuclear power, if that same amount of electricity was fossil-fuel generated, Canada’s total GHG emission would increase by a whopping 12%.

Canada’s nuclear facilities are located in Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. Communities in these provinces are benefiting not only from an available, reliable and clean source of energy, but an affordable one as well. According to studies conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a multi-country organization working to further growth and development of its member nations, the overall cost to the consumer of nuclear power over the life of a nuclear power facility is similar to that of large-scale hydro, natural gas and coal, and much lower than wind and solar.

What about the rest of the country, you might be wondering. What are the benefits of nuclear for the rest of the country not currently powered by nuclear? Power generation is only one of the many great things about nuclear, and it isn’t only Canadians who benefit from the Canadian nuclear industry, both today and historically, what with the countless Canadian innovations in the field.

The Canadian nuclear industry provides a broad spectrum of products and services that benefit Canadians and people around the world. The application of nuclear science improves the health and well-being of us all through nuclear medicine and food safety technologies. Innovation in nuclear science is also being applied to address a number of societal challenges such as public health and transportation.

Our nuclear industry is made up of over 70,000 Canadians employed directly or indirectly in exploring and mining uranium, generating electricity, advancing nuclear medicine, and promoting Canada’s worldwide leadership in science and technology innovation. Through the efforts of these Canadians, our nuclear industry is a $6.6 billion per year industry, contributing $1.5 billion in tax revenues and $1.2 billion in export revenues.

Our commitment to public safety and environmental stewardship includes the safe, secure and responsible long-term management of all of the used fuel produced by Canadian nuclear power plants.  Used fuel is initially stored in secure water-filled bays on site of the nuclear power plants for 5 –10 years. It is then placed in large concrete and steel containers safely stored on site. In order to address the long-term care of Canada’s used nuclear fuel, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) was established by nuclear energy producers in 2002 in accordance with the federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act.

NWMO has worked with industry, research and government organizations to develop a management approach for the long-term care of Canada’s used nuclear fuel, including development of a deep geological repository in a suitable rock formation. Initial stages of the plan are now being implemented. NWMO’s plan and its implementation is highly monitored and regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to protect the health, safety and security of people and our environment. In fact, radioactive waste facilities are monitored by the licensees and by the provincial and federal authorities, and they are kept extremely secure.

Let’s see, we’ve covered: safety, zero-emission power generation, affordability, contributions to medicine, heath, science and technology innovation, various industries, and the Canadian economy, and talked about how we clean up after ourselves. These reasons all illustrate why nuclear energy should be considered not only in the discussions about a Canadian energy strategy, but also as a component for a sustainable energy future.

I’d love to continue this discussion with you. We have a blog at TalkNuclear.ca and we talk nuclear on Facebook and Twitter. Come join the conversation about all things nuclear and energy related.

If you want to know more about the daily benefits of nuclear beyond energy generation, visit our new microsite. Find out how the future is NU.

Originally posted at Let’s Talk Energy

 

Nuclear News Nuclear Pride

2010 Annual CNSC Staff Report on the Safety Performance of Canadian Nuclear Power Plants

Last week, the CNSC staff presented their annual report on the safety performance of Canada’s nuclear power facilities. Part I of the presentation covered the safety performance, from January to December 2010; Part II addressed regulatory developments and issues.  The public was invited to provide comments on the reports, which have been publicly available since April, however, no comments were received. The industry average was Satisfactory. This means our operators were found to be satisfying the regulators’ expectations for safety and control areas and maintaining very safe operations.

Summary of Results for 2010

  • No serious process failures at the NPPs
  • No radiation dose to the public and workers above the regulatory limits
  • Accident severity rate was low
  • No environmental releases above regulatory limits
  • Canada was able to meet its international obligations regarding the peaceful use of nuclear energy

How did we do?

Here are some report highlights on each of the Canada’s nuclear stations

Bruce A & B

  • Integrated Plant Ratings: Satisfactory
  • Fully Satisfactory in measures of conventional health and safety

Darlington

  • Integrated Plant Rating: Fully Satisfactory
  • Fully Satisfactory in measures of Operating Performance, Fitness for Service, Radiation Protection

Pickering A & B

  • Integrated Plant Ratings: Satisfactory
  • Satisfactory in measures of Environmental Protection, Emergency Management and Fire Protection, Waste Management

Gentilly-2

  • Integrated Plant Ratings: Satisfactory
  • Satisfactory in measures of Human Performance Management, Safety Analysis, Safeguards

Point Lepreau

  • Integrated Plant Ratings: Satisfactory
  • Satisfactory in measures of Packaging and Transport, Radiation Protection, Environmental Protection
  • NB Power’s Point Lepreau Generating Station received a “Below Expectations” rating in area of Emergency management and fire protection. NB Power assures their plant is safe. They have a plan in place to address the areas where performance needs to be improved and are confident in achieving high standards of performance. Safety is their number one priority.They do have fire, chemical, radiological and medical response capabilities as provided by highly trained, qualified and dedicated emergency response teams. They will continue to put measures in place to improve — that is their commitment to continuous improvement and ensuring that they meet the expectations of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Aside from the report card on our nuclear power facilities, the CNSC staff report contains tons of interesting information about how Canadian plants fair against international benchmarks (note: very well!).

CNSC Presentation Overview

  • Background of the 2010 Report
  • Public Comments
  • Summary of the Results for 2010
  • Individual Station Highlights
  • Concluding Remarks

Download PDF versions of the CNSC presentation documents below

2010 Annual CNSC Staff Report on the Safety Performance of Canadian Nuclear Power Plants

2010 Annual CNSC Staff Report on the Safety Performance of Canadian Nuclear Power Plants – Presentation

In the concluding remarks, the CNSC found that all nuclear power facilities in Canada operated safely in 2010, and that operators made adequate provisions to protect health, safety, environment and international commitments. The Canadian nuclear industry works because of a shared commitment to safety among plant workers and operators and the strong regulatory oversight of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

The CNSC will present a final report on the implications of the Japan nuclear event for Canadian nuclear power facilities. This report will be available on September 30, 2011.

Messages Nuclear News

Point Lepreau Generating Station Refurbishment Project Update

Fuel channel installations in progress

August 12, 2011

The Refurbishment Project team has started the fuel channel installation sequence and has successfully completed approximately six per cent of the 380 installations. The fuel channel installation activities are progressing well along the planned timeline in a safe and quality manner. This sequence is expected to be completed in December 2011.

On July 15, 2011, NB Power announced that AECL had successfully completed the installation and testing of all 380 calandria tubes in the reactor vessel. Following that milestone, workers completed the required transition activities for fuel channel installation and started installations shortly after.

The NB Power and AECL team continues to work around the clock to complete all project activities safely and with the quality expected by New Brunswickers in order to complete the retubing work by May 2012. After the commissioning activities have been completed, the Station is expected to return to service by the fall of 2012 and deliver safe and reliable power to New Brunswick for the next 25 to 30 years.

“We’re pleased by AECL’s quick transition from the calandria tube work to the fuel channel installations,” said Rod Eagles, NB Power Refurbishment Project Director. “The successful early days of this sequence demonstrate that our training and preparation are paying off in field execution. Our team of dedicated and highly skilled workers remains on track to meet the project targets.”

The fuel channel installation sequence is very complex as there are multiple steps that need to be executed systematically in order to complete a full installation of each fuel channel.

A subassembly (consisting of a pressure tube and one end fitting) is assembled at the AECL Saint John mock-up facility and transported to the Station. Following the insertion of this subassembly inside of the recently installed calandria tubes located inside the reactor vessel, spacers are put in place at four precise positions along the length of the pressure tube. These spacers will maintain the distance between the pressure and calandria tubes. A second end fitting is then installed on the opposite end and attached to the pressure tube with a rolled joint. The end fitting outlet ports are then aligned to the proper position and welded to the bellows on both sides of the reactor. Finally, positioning assemblies are installed.

Activities to restart the Station continue. The NB Power team will ensure that the remaining commissioning activities are carried out in accordance with all operating and regulatory requirements.

Project updates will continue to be issued on a monthly basis and will include progress on project milestones. The major milestones include:

  • Fuel channel installation completion (December 2011)
  • Lower feeder installation completion (May 2012)
  • Return to service and generating electricity (fall 2012)

MEDIA CONTACT:
Kathleen Duguay, Public Affairs Manager, (506) 659-6433 or email:
kduguay@nbpower.com.

Messages Nuclear Pride

Point Lepreau Generating Station Refurbishment Project Update

Calandria tube installation activities completed

July 15, 2011 — The Refurbishment Project team has successfully completed the installation and testing of all 380 calandria tubes in the reactor vessel.

The NB Power and AECL teams continue to work around the clock to complete all project activities safely and with the quality expected by New Brunswickers in order to complete the retubing work by May 2012. After the commissioning activities are completed, the Station is expected to return to service by the fall of 2012 and deliver safe and reliable power to New Brunswick for the next 25 to 30 years.

CANDU calandria, prior to installation. Image Courtesty of NuclearFAQ.ca

Rod Eagles, NB Power Refurbishment Project Director, says that the early completion of the calandria tube installation is a result of the commitment of every man and woman working on the project.

“The installation and testing of each calandria tube was complex and very precise work,” said Eagles. “Our team of highly skilled workers demonstrated perseverance as well as the required commitment to safety and quality throughout this sequence. The dedication of the combined NB Power and AECL team has allowed us to remain on track to meet the May 2012 completion date.”

The calandria tube installation activities involved 380 tubes being inserted horizontally into the calandria vessel with 760 tube inserts (one at each end). The calandria tubes were tested individually at each end to ensure that leak tight seals were achieved and all tests were successful. These tubes are approximately six metres long and 13 centimetres in diameter, and will contain the reactor’s fuel channels and fuel bundles.

Workers are preparing for the fuel channel installation activities which are expected to be completed in December 2011. This sequence will include the installation of pressure tubes, spacers, end fittings and positioning assemblies as well as bellows welding.

Activities to restart the Station continue. NB Power has a team in place to ensure that the remaining commissioning activities are carried out in accordance with all operating and regulatory requirements.

Project updates will continue to be issued on a monthly basis and will include progress on project milestones. The major milestones include:

  • Fuel channel installation (December 2011)
  • Lower feeder installation (May 2012)
  • Return to service and generating electricity (fall 2012)

NB Power Point Lepreau Generating Station

MEDIA CONTACT:
Kathleen Duguay
Public Affairs Manager
(506) 659-6433
kduguay@nbpower.com.