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New Brunswick (NB) Power

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  • Endorsement date: December 18, 2020
  • Organization: NB Power

Overview

NB Power is responsible for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity that powers the lives and livelihoods of more than 400,000 customers across New Brunswick. Our employees, more than 2,600 strong, deliver safe, reliable energy to our customers by way of 21,358 km of distribution lines, substations, terminals and switchyards that are interconnected by 6,905 km of transmission lines.

NB Power maintains one of the most diverse generation fleets in North America, with a combined total generating capacity of 3,790 MW, plus additional installed capacity of 329 MW of wind and 259 MW of other renewable capacity provided by third parties through Purchase Power Agreements (PPAs).

In 2019/2020, NB Power experienced strong operating performance in all areas of our business. Most notably, our Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station was recognized in 2019 for its safety and reliability performance and operational excellence by the World Association of Nuclear Operators, whose mission is to maximize the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants worldwide. We also provided 44 per cent of the total in-province electricity sales from renewable resources, which exceeded the provincial goal of 40 per cent. When coupled with the approximately 36 per cent of our in-province demand from nuclear power, we achieved an 80 per cent non-emitting electricity supply for our customers.

On February 1st 1983, the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station (PLNGS) became commercially operational as the first CANDU-6 in the world. In 2012, the unit successfully completed a life extension refurbishment. The 660 megawatt (net) unit is a low carbon, base load contributor to the New Brunswick electrical grid. During 2019/2020, The Station produced 5,046,876 net MWh of non-emitting electricity representing approximately 48 per cent of the total net generation from all NB Power generating stations for the year.

A valuable contributor to the New Brunswick economy, the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station:

  • contributes $767 million to goods and services bought and sold in the province;
  • provides 2700+ direct and indirect jobs in the province;
  • adds $287 million annually to the province’s GDP; and
  • contributes $29 million in revenue to the province that can be spent on important services to communities, province wide. It does all of this while helping New Brunswick achieve its climate change action plan targets to ensure a more sustainable environment for generations to come.

NB Power is a member of the Candu Owners Group, the World Association of Nuclear Operators, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, the Canadian Nuclear Association, the Canadian Electrical Association, and the Nuclear Energy Institute. It also has a close association with the Universities and Community Colleges in New Brunswick. NB Power is also very active on the SMR front, working collaboratively with the SaskPower, OPG and Bruce Power through the CEO SMR Forum. As identified in the CEO SMR Forum Action Plan Chapter, the industry has developed an integrated 3 parallel stream equal priority approach for the development and deployment of SMRs in Canada. NB Power is taking the lead on the development of the stream 2, the advanced Generation IV SMRs.

The New Brunswick Government invested $10M to assist the development of two advanced Generation IV SMR designs, the ARC-100 by ARC Nuclear Canada Inc., and the Moltex SSR-W with its accompanying fuel conversion facility by Moltex Energy Canada. These advanced SMR designs bring a multitude of additional benefits such as increased levels of safety which lead to simple low-cost designs and the ability to effectively recycle their own used fuel and reduce current inventories of used CANDU fuel. They have co-generation capabilities for potential application with heavy industry, desalination or hydrogen production, superior load following characteristics to support the intermittent nature of renewable forms of electricity production and have the potential of a substantial export market. The ARC Nuclear ARC-100 and the Moltex SSR-W technologies have different market applications and are well suited for Canadian and international markets.

Supply chain assessment studies by both vendors have shown that between 50 to 60% of the components could be manufactured in New Brunswick and this figure could be increased with some capability development. Much of the remaining components can be supplied within the rest of Canada. This high percentage is made possible due to the simplicity of design resulting from the inherent safety characteristics of these advanced designs; however the capacity of the New Brunswick facilities will need to be expanded considerably to meet the anticipated demand. The vision is to develop the supply chain, principally in New Brunswick, and demonstrate both technologies at the Point Lepreau site in the early to mid 2030’s.

The Stream 2 advanced Generation IV SMRs have the potential to create economic benefits for Canada for demonstration units in New Brunswick, a fleet of Canadian units and a fleet of export units up to 2060 of:

  • 537,000 person-years of Direct and Indirect employment
  • a positive impact on GDP (Direct and Indirect) of $59B
  • an increase of Federal revenue of over $5.2B

Central to the concept of fleet deployment is control over changes to design as well as how the units are operated and maintained. A central fleet services concept centred in New Brunswick is pivotal in keeping both capital as well as Operating and Maintenance costs low and to maximize the supply chain opportunity.

Early engagement is a key element of the program. Over the past few years, NB Power has been actively progressing engagement activities with First Nations representatives and the general public. This two way dialogue is important to disseminate information about SMRs but also listen and understand about potential concerns and issues.

NB Power is also providing technical support to the vendors and performing various pre-project planning activities. NB Power along with the two SMR vendors actively support R&D for advanced Generation IV reactors at the University of New Brunswick as well as curriculum development for capacity building within the province. NB Power also has a memorandum of understanding with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Canada’s eminent National Nuclear Laboratory to support the development of SMRs.

NB Power was on the steering Committee and most of the working groups that developed the Pan Canadian SMR Roadmap, and is active in the CEO SMR forum, the COG SMR Technical Forum and task teams, the CNA/COG SMR secretariat, and the SMR Action Plan Steering Committee.

NB Power fully supports the principles outlined in the SMR Action Plan. This is also evident through the unique actions listed below as well as the common actions of the entities of which NB Power is a member and works closely with.

ACTIONS

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
SMR demonstration projects
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
NP01

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 40

ACTION

NB Power envisions demonstrating both stream 2 advanced Generation IV SMR technologies at the Point Lepreau site in the early to mid 2030’s.

NB Power has been working closely with ARC Nuclear Canada Inc. and Moltex Energy Canada to advance the designs and assist them as necessary in the CNSC VDR process. NB Power is working collaboratively with the industry in the overall strategy and plan to develop and deploy SMRs in Canada

EXPECTED RESULTS

If successful, an ARC-100 SMR and a Moltex SSR-W SMR and accompanying WATSS facility will be licenced, constructed and operated at the Point Lepreau Generating Station site. This will lead to subsequent deployments of units (fleet) in Canada and internationally supporting a vibrant supply chain in New Brunswick and elsewhere in Canada.

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Strategic partnerships and business models
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
NP02

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 41

ACTION

NB Power is working with each of the stream 2 SMR vendors to explore various strategic partnerships, relationships and business models.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Attract investors and formation of Owner/Operator Consortium and establish EPC contracts to allow for final design, licensing, construction and commercial demonstration of the units.

DEMONSTRATION AND DEPLOYMENT
Fleet deployment pathways
STATUS: COMPLETE
NP03

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 42

ACTION

The Roadmap recommendation suggested interested utilities should lead on the development of a white paper setting out potential fleet deployment pathways.

However the Memorandum of Understanding signed Dec 1, 2019 between the Premiers of Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Ontario has led to creation of a feasibility report on SMR deployment across Canada. This will replace the need for a white paper.

EXPECTED RESULTS

The Feasibility Report will lead to a subsequent Strategic plan for deployment of SMRs. A key aspect for the long term success is the fleet concept.

CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Indigenous Engagement
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
NP04

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 43

ACTION

NB Power places great importance on the relationship with the First Nations in New Brunswick. NB Power meets regularly with representatives of the First Nations and engages in two way dialogue on a variety of topics including the development and possible deployment of SMRs. Periodic meetings take place with Chiefs and councils, consultative bodies, economic development representatives as well as other interested parties. Continued engagement and meaningful two-way dialogue on SMRs is an essential element of the SMR program.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Continue on the path to develop an increased level of trust, understanding and inclusion. Have a good understanding of potential issues and opportunities that can be factored into the program. Establish a good two way dialogue to better understand benefits, economic opportunities and potential risks.

CAPACITY, ENGAGEMENT, AND PUBLIC CONFIDENCE
Training Programs and Education Curriculum
STATUS: IN PROGRESS
NP05

Responds to SMR Roadmap recommendation(s): 48

ACTION

Ensuring there is a skilled next generation of people to carry on the activities of the nuclear industry is very important. SMRs involve designs that are substantially different than the nuclear technology of yester year and the universities and community colleges need to reflect these changes

NB Power along with the two stream 2 vendors are supporting work with the University of New Brunswick on Advanced SMR R&D and course curriculum on advanced reactors. UNB is also part of the UNENE network

EXPECTED RESULTS

New courses developed and previous courses updated to produce an increased interest enrolment in the Nuclear Program leading to skilled workers for the future.