Nuclear Safety Engineer Has Very Serious Concerns With Point Lepreau

Sunil Nijhawan is a nuclear safety engineer with decades of experience with Candu Reactors. He developed the software that is used to assess accident progression in Candu reactors. He is also pro-nuclear, as are many of the interveners that regularly have very serious concerns with our regulator the CNSC.

His intervention identifies two very serious problems with safety devices that are meant to protect people and the environment from radiation, but do to poor designs pose significant risks to the unsuspecting public.

He points to safety relief valves that are not sized properly and as a result will allow the primary heat transport system to uncontrollably over pressurize during a station blackout. The best-case scenario this design flaw will destroy the reactor from a pressure tube failure, but the radiation is contained (Three Mile island). The worst-case scenario is the steam generators fail and there is an early containment bypass with huge releases of radiation(Chernobyl/Fukushima).

His other concern is related to the amount of Passive Auto-catalytic recombiners (PARS). These are devices that do not require power to operate and they use a catalyst to turn Hydrogen into water. These are meant to prevent hydrogen explosions like the three reactors in Fukushima. While this sounds like a great idea he has found that there are not enough of them to handle the amount of hydrogen that will be produced. The catalyst get very hot if the concentrations get too high. It has been found during testing of these devices that when exposed to too high of concentrations of hydrogen they shoot flames out of the bottom of them and will become the ignition source of the hydrogen explosion with no way of turning them off. He contends we would be safer without them.

I have a lot of concerns about every aspect of nuclear power, but the concerns brought fourth by Sunil are what keeps me awake at night. If you have the stomach for it please read his submission where he discusses step by step what will happen during a station blackout at Point Lepreau. We should all be very concerned that the safety of the province relies on NB Power keeping the power on at Lepreau.

LEPREAU Relicensing intervention submission -27 March 2017 , Sunil Nijhawan











When A Safety Limit is Exceeded Move the Safety Limit

New Clear Free Solutions Intervention NB Power Licence Renewal April 3 2017

Please see click the above link to New Clear Free Solutions intervention on the Licence Renewal for Point Lepreau.

The intervention focuses on a seismic safety limit that was exceeded and then the limit was subsequently changed so that is wasn’t exceeded. The intervention also focuses on the transparency issues.



New Clear Free Solutions Responds to Interrogatories From NB Power and Energy and Utilities Board

As part of the rate hearing process all participants get to ask questions on the evidence that we have submitted. Below are links to our responses to NB Power and Energy and Utilities Board Interrogatories (questions) on our evidence.

New Clear Free Solutions Response to NB Power Interrogatories


New Clear Free Solutions Response to Energy and Utilities Board Staff


Common Sense Economics for the Public’s Utility -Nuclear Power In New Brunswick

common-sense-economicsThis powerpoint was originally made by Sharon Murphy from PEACE NB, for the Energy and Utility board’s hearings of NB Power’s request for a 2% rate hike in Jan 2017. However, the theme of the power point, that nuclear power is not economically sensible, is bigger than just the rate hearings. This presentation has been altered slightly from the original version which focused on rates. It is imperative that the New Brunswick public is informed as to where their money is going and how much of their money is being spent irresponsibly.  This powerpoint was designed to be self explanatory so the message would be easy to understand without notes or a presenter.


Link to Power Point




New Clear Free Solutions Questions Public Interveners Experts On Public Interest

In New Brunswick we have a Public Intervener that intervenes in NB Power rate increase hearings and is supposed to be looking out for public interest and fight to keep rates low and stable. In this hearing however the public intervener hired an expert to review NB Powers rate application and he is suggesting the board put priority on NB Power profits over keeping rates low and stable and that NB Power should consider asking for even larger rate increases to make up for poor performance at Point Lepreau.

NB Power may need bigger rate increase, says intervener’s expert

We discovered that the whole basis of his evidence was based on his wrong interpretation of the Electricity Act. He interpreted the act in his evidence as saying “rates should be kept low as possible and should be stable and predictable” but the legislation ACTUALLY states “rates shall be maintained as low as reasonably possible and shall be stable and predictable” There is a huge difference in legal and regulatory meaning between should and shall. A Shall statement is a requirement and a Should statement is only guidance and is not a requirement.

To read our Interrogatories on the public interveners evidence click the link below.






Environment Ministers Urged to Invest Carbon Tax

Dear Ministers of the Environment

My name is Chris Rouse and I represent New Clear Free Solutions an environmental group based in New Brunswick. We have submitted both Provincially and Federally a carbon tax policy which publicly invests the carbon tax into renewable energy and continually reinvests a portion of the return on investment also into renewable energy until a renewable portfolio standard is reached. The reinvestment creates an ever growing amount of money to be able to transition to a very low carbon economy. This policy provides all of the capital needed to make the transition and changes the conversation from how much is this going to cost the Provinces to how much money can it make the Provinces.

In August 2016 the US Energy Information Administration released its 2016 Annual Energy Outlook. We have updated the Carbon Tax and Investment Plan using the latest cost and performance data from this report. The update also provides additional financial details and extended the detailed Integrated Resource Plan to include a 2060 Stage 2 Renewable Portfolio Standard for New Brunswick. This update also includes additional sensitivity analysis, and provides estimates for each Province and Territory and Canada as a whole.

Summary of Update


Link to full update



The Carbon tax will allow Canadians to invest in our abundant renewable energy resources with our provincially owned integrated electric utilities. This will stabilize our energy rates and provide billions each year in net profits for each Province. The transition to a low carbon economy is going to require billions in capital investments with an expected return on those investments. If the capital is debt financed or privately financed they will earn the billions in interest, if Canadians are allowed to invest, using the Carbon tax revenue, Canadians will earn the billions in interest. The decision to publicly finance or to private or debt finance the transition is arguably the most important decision that needs to be made.

I am happy to offer my assistance in developing a detailed integrated resource plan similar to the one I have prepared for New Brunswick for any of the Provinces or Territories. I would also like to offer a detailed presentation of the policy or answer any questions that you might have.

Best Regards

Chris Rouse

New Clear Free Solutions