Plant wearing out, says report

David Young
Times Globe
February 20, 1998

Point Lepreau is going to be a huge drain on the finances of NB Power into the next century, warns a provincial report.

The plant will not last as long as expected and must either undergo a costly refurbishing or be shut down before the debt is paid off, says Electricity in New Brunswick Beyond 2000, prepared by the Department of Natural Resources and Energy to assess the Crown corporation’s ability to meet deregulation.

“NB Power currently has an inappropriately high level of debt,” says the report, released today. That’s partly due to the corporation’s effort to build so much in the last two decades. Among those construction projects was Point Lepreau.

The report said the plant’s “poor performance has a major financial impact on NB Power” because Point Lepreau supplies 30 per cent of the power for the province and the corporation must pay up to $450,000 a day to replace the power when the nuclear plant is shut down. Because of problems at the plant, including crucial pipes that are thinning four times faster than expected, it has not been operating successfully.

“Preliminary indications are that Point Lepreau will not be able to operate until the year 2014 as planned without a major refurbishment somewhere between the time period of 2005 to 2011.” NB Power had been counting on Lepreau operating until the year 2014.

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