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July 24, 2012

Canadian Point Lepreau nuclear power station authorized for restart

Canadian regulators have authorised the restart of the Point Lepreau nuclear power station at low power. The announcement comes days after Bruce A1, also undergoing major refurbishment, received permission to restart. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is allowing New Brunswick Power to begin activities to restart the single-unit plant so that safety tests can be carried out under the oversight of CNSC staff. At this stage the reactor will not generate electricity, and further regulatory approvals will be required before the reactor can be taken above 0.1% of its full power, and again before it can go above 35%.

The 680 MWe Candu 6 pressurised heavy-water plant began commercial operation in 1983 but has been out of service for four years for the major refurbishment work which was originally anticipated to take only 16 months. The reactor is the third refurbished Candu to be given restart permission by the CNSC this year. Bruce A2 received restart permission in March but problems with the non-nuclear electricity generation side of the plant have delayed its return to service. Bruce A1 has now been given permission to go to 50% power.

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