July 8, 2010
SAINT JOHN (CNB) - AREVA - the world's largest nuclear vendor company - will examine the feasibility of building a second nuclear reactor in New Brunswick under a letter of intent announced today by the provincial government and NB Power.
The company has also expressed interest in supporting the development of the energy hub by creating a clean energy park and investing in new research and development.
Premier Shawn Graham; Energy Minister Jack Keir; Gaëtan Thomas, president and chief executive officer, NB Power; and Jacques Besnainou, chief executive officer, AREVA, made the announcement.
"The New Brunswick government recognizes the integral role the energy sector has in growing our economy," said Graham. "I am pleased that AREVA also recognizes the expertise and potential that New Brunswick has to offer. We want to explore whether this opportunity would benefit New Brunswick and New Brunswickers. Although this announcement is just a first step, a project of this magnitude would create 8,500 direct and indirect jobs for New Brunswickers in all regions of our province."
Under the terms of the letter, following the completion of a feasibility study, AREVA would be entirely responsible for managing the design, construction and financing of a new light-water reactor. This would be the first of its kind in Canada.
NB Power would be responsible for operating the unit and for any technical and regulatory support required during licensing.
Anchored by the new nuclear unit, the energy park would include electricity generation from other clean energy sources such as high efficiency natural gas co-generation, wind, biomass and, potentially, solar energy.
"The New Brunswick government is committed to increasing its reliance on electricity from clean and renewable sources," said Graham. "A clean energy park would also provide opportunities for our manufacturing sector in the development and construction of these technologies."
AREVA will also explore opportunities to develop and expand education and training in New Brunswick by working with the universities and community colleges in the province. This will include the creation of a centre of excellence for research and development in the nuclear sector.
The provincial government and NB Power will work intensively with the company to develop a more detailed agreement covering all of these areas by the end of 2010.
"AREVA's mid-power nuclear technology provides clean energy parks with a viable and predictable option for green power," said Besnainou. "Our designs are among the safest in the world, and the construction of these facilities will create thousands of construction and support jobs for the communities where we invest."
AREVA, with headquarters in France, has more than 50,000 employees in more than 100 countries. The company has been in Canada for more than 40 years and has a presence in several provinces and Nunavut. A leader in Canada's uranium production, it is also a manufacturer of radiation measuring equipment and is a services and engineering provider to Canadian nuclear plants.
"These projects fit perfectly with our government's efforts to position New Brunswick as an energy hub for the eastern seaboard," said Keir. "New Brunswick's expertise in the energy sector is second-to-none, and I am encouraged that a world-class company such as AREVA is looking to work with our local businesses and skilled workers to help that company serve its customers around the globe."
New Brunswick has Atlantic Canada's only nuclear reactor, the Point Lepreau generating station.
"New Brunswick, through the skilled and highly educated workforce at NB Power, already has world-class nuclear expertise," said Thomas. "We will be able to leverage this very skilled and technical workforce to manage and maintain new infrastructure with the same commitment to safety and community as we always have with the Point Lepreau generating station. This is our commitment."
MEDIA CONTACTS: Bonnie Doyle Creber, communications, Department of Energy, 506-658-2410; Hillary Casey, communications, Office of the Premier, 506-457-3522; Kathleen Duguay, communications, NB Power, 506-659-6433; Jean-François Béland, vice-president, AREVA Canada, 647-326-1017.