The Point Lepreau CANDU pressurized heavy water (PHWR) reactor is owned and operated by New Brunswick Power (NB Power). It is a 700 MWe class CANDU 6 reactor with a gross output of 680 MWe, supplying approximately 30 per cent of the province’s electricity.
Point Lepreau was the first CANDU 6 to be licensed for operation, the first to achieve criticality and the first to begin commercial operation. Construction of the Point Lepreau reactor began in January 1975 and was completed in 1981. First power was achieved in September 1982, with the start of commercial operation in February 1983.
New Brunswick Power was the first Canadian utility to sell electricity from a nuclear power plant to the United States, which helped offset the initial capital costs of the plant.
In 1992, NB Power opened its full-scale simulated control centre, which plays a key role in training NB Power station operators, as well as training operators for other CANDU plants.
In 2008, NB Power began an extended outage to retube and refurbish the Point Lepreau reactor, commonly called life extension. During this process all 380 fuel channels and calandria tubes, along with the 760 feeder pipes are replaced, among other maintenance work. The station returned to commercial operation in November 2012 to deliver safe and reliable power to New Brunswick for the next 25 to 30 years.