Former N.B. premier says government should ‘assess’ possibility of 2nd nuclear reactor at Point Lepreau

Former New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord says the time is right for a second nuclear reactor at Point Lepreau to be considered.
By Global News
Thursday, June 8, 2017

Former New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord says the time is right for a second nuclear reactor at Point Lepreau to be considered.

Lord made the remarks at the East Coast Energy Connection conference in Saint John on Wednesday.

Lord is chairman of Ontario Power Generation which is in the midst of refurbishing four nuclear units at its Darlington plant. It was Lord’s Conservative administration that approved the refurbishment of the current nuclear plant at Point Lepreau in 2005.

He said the opportunity is there as the federal government moves to put a price on carbon and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The former premier said that doesn’t mean the Gallant government should proceed full steam ahead with a Lepreau 2.

“I want to be clear,” said Lord. “I’m not saying do it. I’m saying assess it.”

Lord is not the only New Brunswick premier to encourage the government look into a second reactor. Frank McKenna wrote an op-ed article in February that a second reactor at Lepreau was a viable energy option.

Not everyone is convinced.

Saint John environmentalist Gordon Dalzell, once a nuclear supporter, now has his doubts.

Lord said science is on side with that issue.

“The measures that are put in place to obtain these licenses from federal regulators are very stringent,” he said. “Organizations have to abide by the regulations and take the precautions.”

Dalzell also expressed concern about the cost of a second reactor and how that might impact other funding for other renewable energy sources.

In an email statement to Global News, Energy and Resource Development Minister Rick Doucet said while they recognize a second generating station could be an option, they haven’t seen a business case for it.

“There are many options open to New Brunswick as we transition to low carbon electricity generation,” he wrote. “Nuclear power is one of them, however, much more analysis needs to be performed before any decision can be made.”