Point Lepreau nuclear power plant clears last regulatory approval before restart

POINT LEPREAU, N.B. – The Point Lepreau nuclear power plant in New Brunswick has passed its last regulatory approval before returning to full power generation after a four-year refurbishment.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission announced today that it has allowed the facility to increase reactor power above 35 per cent of its full capacity.

NB Power says more tests will be done, including raising and lowering reactor power and connecting and disconnecting the generator from the grid.

Kathleen Duguay, a spokeswoman for the Crown utility, says it will be weeks before the 660-megawatt station generates full power for its customers.

The company says once the refurbishment is complete, the plant will be capable of producing enough electricity for more than 333,000 homes per year for the next 25 to 30 years.

The commission says it will continue to monitor the plant’s operation to ensure all necessary measures are taken to protect the public, workers and the environment.

The refurbishment of Point Lepreau, Atlantic Canada’s only nuclear power plant, began in the spring of 2008.

The project is about three years behind schedule and $1 billion over the original $1.4-billion budget.