Good point, Adam.
Pt Lepreau presently operates at an average of about 655 MWe gross in the winter. At a 93% net production (609 MWe net) for 54 hours (32,900 MWhe), the replacement power cost $Cdn 106 / MWhe, or $0.106 / kWhe. That's high, but not without precedent; Ontario's electricity wholesale price was $85.46 / MWhe in the period Jan 29 - Feb 25, 2003.
On March 8, 2003, Point Lepreau generated its 100 millionth MWhe (gross) since first electricity. Assuming a 93% net production, that electricity would be worth $Cdn 9.9 billion, if it had been sold at the rates paid by NB Power for imports in mid February.
From: Adam McLean [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2003 3:06 PM
To: Canadian Nuclear Discussion List
Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] Human error causes $3.5M shutdown
Posted in CanadaEast.com on March 26, 2003 and at:
If shutting down PL for 54 hours due to a safety system acting exactly as
it's supposed to costs an extra $3.5 million ($1.6 million per day) in
expensive imports, why doesn't the paper write articles about how the
nuclear plant SAVES New Brunswick $1.6 million per day when it's running
during peak demand?
Human error causes $3.5M shutdown
ENERGY: Review of Point Lepreau reveals procedure not followed
Human error caused a $3.5-million shutdown at the Point Lepreau Nuclear
Generating Station, NB Power revealed Tuesday.
The shutdown, which began Feb. 11 and lasted 54 hours, forced NB Power to
purchase replacement energy during a severe cold snap when utilities from
outside New Brunswick were charging top dollar.
Management at the plant only recently completed a review process to see how
procedures could be improved. It concluded fairly quickly that human error
was involved, Jeffrey Carleton, an NB Power spokesman said.
"The cause of the human error was improper use of the error prevention
tools," he said.
The individual responsible for the shutdown is no longer involved in the
direct operation of the plant, located 35 kilometres southwest of Saint
John. He has been moved laterally to a position that supports the
Despite making a costly error, the employee is still considered productive
and someone who can help the station meet its goals, Mr. Carleton said.
The power plant went off line Feb. 11 during scheduled maintenance on one of
the three systems designed to safely shut it down.
The system is configured so that two shutdown systems have to be online at
all times. If there is only one safety shutdown system online, the station
will automatically shutdown.
When the system was being put back into service, procedures were not
followed, and a second system was deactivated. As a result an overriding
program, sensing that only one system was online, took charge and shut the
nuclear reactor down.
"There was some incorrect hard switching," Mr. Carleton said.
Reviews found that procedures designed to prevent errors were not followed.
These include such things as pre-job briefings to talk about the work to be
done, writing out schedules and the desired outcomes.
Point Lepreau also uses a procedure called STAR, which requires employees to
stop, think, take action and look at the result.
It is designed to be a barrier to human error.
During the testing the individual was working as part of a team, but once
the system was being placed back online, he was working on his own, Mr.
"In this case the. . . reviews found that the employee did not use the
proper human performance tool."
As a result plant management is looking at procedures to see if there is
anything that can be done to prevent unintended shutdowns.
Reach our reporter
cdn-nucl-l mailing list