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Point Lepreau Operating At 95 Percent - Jul. 19, 2013

FREDERICTON (GNB) -- The Point Lepreau Generating Station is currently operating safely at 95 per cent, producing 614 megawatts for New Brunswick.

At this point in the operating cycle at the plant, NB Power is considering the advantages of a two-week outage this fall so technicians can make adjustments to a fourth steam valve. These adjustments would allow the station to add output capacity while meeting the requirements to respond to changes in the New Brunswick power grid. 

"The plant has been running safely and effectively with three steam valves, as it was designed to do," said Sean Granville, site vice-president and chief nuclear officer, NB Power. "If we chose to have an autumn outage, it would allow us to service the fourth valve at the most cost-effective time of the year, as it falls between our peak export market in the United States and the home heating season in New Brunswick."

The plant is designed to produce electricity safely and effectively using three valves in non-nuclear piping that transport steam from the steam generator to the plant turbine.

"We expected to have to service some parts in the first year of operation after an extended outage," added Granville. "In the case of the fourth valve, it is just not closing as tightly as it should."

In a June 22 submission to the Energy and Utilities Board for the Point Lepreau Deferral Account, NB Power stated its intent to have a two-week outage to repair the steam valve. Servicing this valve would also remove the steam line vibration issues referenced in the its submission, allowing the plant to return to 100 per cent reactor power.

If an outage is required, NB Power's goal would be to align the timing with any annual planned upgrades to the New England Power Grid and the Maine Power Reliability Program, when output from the plant would already need to be reduced.

If an outage is required, it would not have any impact on rates to NB Power customers.