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Point Lepreau hearing raises concerns

The Point Lepreau nuclear generating station, in the South-West of New Brunswick, has been undergoing refurbishment for several years now, despite recommendations of the Energy and Utilities Board. Provincial politicians committed to upgrades which are now several years behind at a cost of 1.4 billion.

The latest upset to the people of New Brunswick relates to how the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission dealt with the application by NB Power for an extension of the operating license. Although people were given the opportunity to send written submissions (well) in advance of the hearing, and could watch the live webcast of the hearing, the hearing was recently held in Ottawa instead of in New Brunswick, where impacted and interested individuals could actively participate.

Of course there are many concerns with the request for an extension request, the refurbishment process, and with nuclear as an energy option overall. But in this instance the Council of Canadians believes strongly in transparency and public participation in the democratic process, and stands in solidarity with the signatories to the below letter.

December 13 2010
46 Reed Avenue, No.1
St-Andrews, N.B
E5P 1A1

Michael Binder
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
280 Slater Street
P.O. Box 1046, Station B
Ottawa, ON
K1P 5S9

Dear Mr. Binder,

We request that the public hearing of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to consider New Brunswick Power’s application for an extension of the operating license for the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station be held here in New Brunswick. As matters currently stand the hearing is scheduled to be held at the CNSC offices in Ottawa on 19 January 2011.

As you know, the health, safety and future well-being of the people of New Brunswick and the environment of the province where Point Lepreau is located are the reasons that your agency is convening this hearing.

Holding the hearing in Ottawa would virtually eliminate any meaningful opportunity for non-profit public interest groups, volunteer organizations, small municipalities and ordinary New Brunswick citizens to attend or participate directly in the hearing due to the time it would take and the costs of travel and accommodation.

Given the costs of travel to and accommodation in Ottawa, attendance and direct participation in the hearing will be limited to the proponent of Lepreau’s license extension (New Brunswick Power), and other government agencies and interested corporations. This is a most undesirable, undemocratic and unacceptable situation.

We trust you will honour our request and take prompt action so that the License Extension hearing for the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station will be held here in New Brunswick.

Thank you very much for your attention to this request.


Fundy Baykeeper
CCNB (Conservation Council)
Sierra Club of Canada–Atlantic Chapter
PANE (for a new perspective on Energy)
International Institute of Concern for Public Health (IICPH)
Concerned Citizens of St-John
Passamaquoddy First Nations
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, NB chapter
Saint John chapter of the Council of Canadians
Centre Culturel et Sportif de Cormier Village Ecoparc Project
Friends of Mount Carleton Park Inc.
Campaign for Pesticide Reduction –New Brunswick (CPR-NB)
Falls Brook Centre
Community Energy Coop
Eastern Charlotte Waterways Inc
Sustainable Energy Group (SEG)
EcoAction, Mount Allison University
Comite d’environnement de l’Ecole Sainte-Anne
Saint John Citizens Coalition for Clean Air
Groupe de développement durable du Pays de Cocagne
EOS Eco-Energy

We expect the webcast will be available to view in the coming days, and will update this blog to include the link. Here’s the location you will find it once available, on the CNSC website: http://www.nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/commission/webcasts/index.cfm