Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ENERGY: Alward to shelve Areva deal at Point Lepreau

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Generation: Premier-elect says he plans to put future nuclear plans with Areva on ice and concentrate on the ongoing completion of Point Lepreau power plant refurbishment


Premier-elect David Alward says he will put an agreement with nuclear firm Areva Canada Inc., to look at building a second reactor in the province, on the back burner when he takes the reins next month.

Toronto energy consultant Tom Adams said he believes the Areva deal was an attempt by the outgoing Liberal Premier Shawn Graham to direct attention away from a scrapped plan to sell NB Power assets to Hydro-Qu├ębec, which was originally met with public discontent.

Alward, who will be sworn in on Oct. 12, said Tuesday his focus will be on seeing a completion of the ongoing Point Lepreau nuclear power plant refurbishment, which continues to be mired in long delays.

"My priority is to get Point Lepreau up and running and Mr. Graham, perhaps at an opportune time, came out with the idea there could be a second nuclear plant in the province 10 to 15 years down the road," Alward said, a day after winning a large majority in the provincial election.

Areva, the New Brunswick government and NB Power announced in Saint John in early July that the French company - the world's largest nuclear vendor firm - would examine the feasibility of building a light-water nuclear reactor in the province by 2020, creating a clean energy park with other sources of power including natural gas cogeneration, wind, biomass and solar, as well investing in research and development.

The idea was that the private sector would finance the project and NB Power would operate the reactor.

But Alward later said the benefits would have to outweigh the risks for New Brunswickers and expressed concern there would be a request for government investment in the nuclear plant.

The Progressive Conservative leader said Tuesday he wants the existing plant at Point Lepreau back on the grid by February 2012 and that "other things will take care of themselves after."

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Pre-operational environmental monitoring report for the Point Lepreau, N.B., nuclear generating station - 1981 (Canadian technical report of hydrography and ocean sciences)

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