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NEWS: Point Lepreau accident raises questions about its relicensing

Point Lepreau located on the northern shore of the Bay of Fundy.

Point Lepreau located on the northern shore of the Bay of Fundy.

CBC reports, “Safety doors that had closed to prevent nuclear particles from escaping during a heavy water spill at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station on Tuesday initially would not open for two hours when a cleaning crew was finished. A radiation alert caused the reactor building to be evacuated on Tuesday after between four and six litres of heavy water was spilled. A two-member crew was dispatched to clean up the spill. Those two individuals ended up stuck for two hours when the safety doors, which were closed to prevent nuclear particles from leaving, did not open when the crew had completed its work. The clean-up crew members, who were in special suits with breathing apparatuses, were not in danger, according to NB Power.”

“The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is currently considering NB Power’s application for a new five-year operating licence for Point Lepreau.” The Canadian Press adds, “Officials at New Brunswick’s Point Lepreau nuclear power station say it will take some time to determine why radioactive heavy water leaked from a piece of equipment this week. …The heavy-water system was being refilled at the time of the spill as part of the utility’s plan to restart the generating station after a refurbishment that is three years behind schedule and $1 billion over the original $1.4-billion budget.”

Earlier this month, the Saint John chapter of the Council of Canadians expressed its opposition at Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission hearings on the relicensing of the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station. More on that, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=12403.