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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.

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

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Canadian Nuclear Worker Newsletter September 2011

A Publication of the Canadian Nuclear Workers’Council

This issue includes:

  • Message from the President
  • Five-Year License Renewal for Hydro Quebec
  • Point Lepreau Refurbishment Makes Progress
  • CNWC Hall of Nuclear Industry Leaders
  • Clarington Receives Good News from OPG
  • Cameco Updates Port Hope Community
  • Bruce Power Achieves Major Milestone
  • In short…

Download a PDF of the September issue of the Canadian Nuclear Worker newsletter

CANADIAN NUCLEAR WORKER
is published four times a year by the
Canadian Nuclear Workersʼ Council,
244 Eglinton Avenue East,
Toronto, Ontario M4P 1K2.

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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.