Point Lepreau back in operation

25 October 2012

All twenty of Canada's nuclear power reactors are on line now that Point Lepreau has been reconnected to the grid after refurbishment.

The reactor unit in the province of New Brunswick is in the final stages of commissioning after a troubled overhaul. It was grid-synchonised on 23 October, said owner NB Power, to supply power for the first time since refurbishment began four years ago. The company noted that remaining commissioning tasks include increasing and decreasing power, disconnecting from the grid and reconnecting. After this the reactor will return to routine operation and supply power continuously.

NB Power president and CEO Gaƫtan Thomas said, "Returning the Point Lepreau generating station to service will provide us with greater opportunities to export power from New Brunswick and to generate revenue that will help us to reduce debt and keep rates low and stable for our customers." Point Lepreau's 660 MWe output will meet about one-third of New Brunswick's goal of sourcing 75% of its electricity from "clean, renewable or non-emitting sources by 2020."

The reactor began commercial operation in 1983 and was taken offline for refurbishment in March 2008. All of its fuel channels, calandria tubes and feeder tubes were replaced in a program initially planned to take 16 months. Setbacks with seal tightness necessitated the removal and replacement of all the calandria tubes for a second time, stretching the total timeline by some 38 months. However, the work should see the reactor operate until around 2035.

The unit's long-awaited return to operation means all 20 of Canada's reactors are producing power for the first time in many years. Reactor units at Bruce A that had been laid-up for 17 years were brought back into operation in September and October. The country can now call on nuclear power reactors with total capacity of 14,169 MWe.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News