Monday, July 5, 2010

Canada's troubled nuclear plant rehab

If the world is to increase its reliance on nuclear power, finding a way to refurbish the world's older reactors is extremely important. But, as the people of the Canadian province of New Brunswick have found, manufacturer refurbishments don't always go as planned.

As you can read in my piece that just posted at Global Post, delays at the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant have cost the people of New Brunswick hundreds of millions of dollars, helping prompt provincial leaders to try to sell the plant and the public utility that owns it to escape a sea of debt. Unfortunately, the nuclear rehab problems also contributed to the collapse of that deal -- and probably to the federal government's decision to sell some or all of its stake in Canadian nuclear reactor vendor Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the crown corporation responsible for the delays.

[Update, 7/8/2010: An indication of AECL's standing in New Brunswick: the province just announced it is exploring the building of a second reactor at Lepreau with one of AECL's foreign competitors.]

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