Update: A 25-year nuclear licence for NB Power? CRED-NB and CELA intervene

NB Power’s Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station on the Bay of Fundy is the only nuclear plant in the Maritimes.

NB Power’s 5-year licence to operate the nuclear reactor on the site will expire in June 2022. They asked for a 25-year licence extension. The decision will be made by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) after a public hearing in May.

The Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick (CRED-NB) and the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) submitted a joint intervention to oppose the licence request. You can read or download our intervention document HERE.

The team is scheduled to present its intervention in Saint John at 1:30pm Atlantic on Wednesday May 11. The public is invited to watch.

The CNSC received 244 written interventions by the March 28 deadline. Many of these were from CRED-NB Champions. Thank you!

In our intervention, we argue that a 25-year license is too long, as is the 20-year recommendation by CNSC staff. Long licence periods for nuclear reactors are not in the public interest, are unprecedented in Canada, and would limit public oversight and participation for a generation.

NB Power’s licence application fails to consider the impact of new developments, including potential Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs/SMNRs) and a reprocessing facility to extract plutonium from the existing spent fuel on the site. It also fails to adequately address the potential impact of climate change on the Point Lepreau site.

Our intervention underscores that NB Power’s consideration of off-site emergency planning and preparedness at Point Lepreau is insufficient to protect human health and the environment. In particular, the proposed size of emergency planning zones does not align with international guidance.

Finally, we submitted that NB Power’s consideration of cyber security in their licence application is insufficient to protect the health and safety of persons and maintain national security. 

Our intervention requests that the CNSC deny NB Power’s request for a 25-year licence and instead consider a short licence period that would also allow the public to weigh in more frequently on the advisability and timing for shutting down and decommissioning the Lepreau nuclear plant.

An early shutdown of the Lepreau reactor has the added benefit of ending the production of radioactive waste which is expensive to store and which has no proven-safe method of disposal. 

Our intervention includes 40 recommendations for the Commissioners to consider in their deliberations.

Read or download our document HERE.

Author: CRED-NB

Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick