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A rendering of the proposed ARC Clean Technology facility at Point Lepreau. Image: Submitted

Comprehensive EIA ordered for proposed SMR project

By Brad Perry Aug 4, 2023 | 4:47 PM

A comprehensive environmental review has been ordered for a proposed small modular reactor project at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station.

Environment Minister Gary Crossman announced Thursday that the application by ARC Clean Energy and NB Power will undergo a comprehensive environmental impact assessment.

“The EIA review process is a long-standing mechanism for the environmental review of projects in New Brunswick,” Crossman said in a news release.

“The technology behind small nuclear reactors is new and that is why it is important to have such a thorough review.”

The announcement came about a month after ARC and NB Power announced they had submitted an environmental impact assessment registration document to the province.

Since 2018, ARC has been working to develop an advanced sodium-cooled fast reactor that will generate at least 100 megawatts of electricity.

The company plans to build and operate the reactor on the site of the existing Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station.

While ARC is leading the development of the small modular reactor, NB Power is providing technical support for the project.

“Small modular reactors are part of the solution to reach our target of being net-zero by 2035 and ensure that we are meeting the needs of New Brunswickers today and into the future,” NB Power CEO Lori Clark said in the release.

According to the department’s website, more comprehensive reviews are ordered if the minister “suspects project impacts may be significant or decides that more study is needed to further assess these impacts.”

The in-depth comprehensive EIA will involve participation from the public and First Nations.

ARC Clean Energy has said it hopes to have its reactor up and running by 2030.

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