Presentation to the Nuclear Safety Commission

Presentation to the Nuclear Safety Commission

Good evening President Velshi and members of the commission, my name is David Duplisea and I am the CEO of the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce. I would now like to thank the commission for allowing the Chamber of Commerce to represent our membership and to speak at this important hearing. And I welcome you to the Saint John region.  I also would like to thank all of the people and organizations who have given their time and efforts in order to participate and share their views.


We are confident in this commission, and the process in place to consider all points of view to arrive at a final recommendation.  We are aware NB Power has applied for a 25-year license. The Chamber has no issues with a license of this duration being granted as we have trust and confidence that the station will continue to be operated to the highest levels of safety and environmental protection, and we support the station continuing to support the economic
health and viability of our region for another 25 years.”


We are the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce and we have been advocating on behalf of members in our region since 1819 and are one the first business associations or Chambers of Commerce in the whole country.  We were created through the partnership of 4 chambers of
commerce and business associations and represent close to 600 companies representing upwards of 35,000 employees throughout our region. Our membership is 85 % small to medium sized business and through surveys, they have indicated that advocacy on their behalf is the top reason for membership.


The sources for our data and economic analysis for this presentation are, the New Brunswick Building Trades Unions, Statistics Canada, and The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Although I will speak primarily on the economic impacts of the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station on our community and our region, I would like to start by recognizing the importance that the public and the business community places on the ongoing safe operation
of the power plant. Nuclear safety is paramount. Assessments by NB Power continue to demonstrate that the plant has sufficient barriers and processes in place to protect the public and the environment, as well as the workers at the plant itself. Periodic evaluations identify opportunities for enhancements and improvements and continue to conclude that a strong nuclear safety culture exists at the station.


Conventional safety performance remains strong; recent achievements include over 2 million person-hours without a lost time accident, with continuing focus on improving safety. In addition, the total radiation dose to the public over the 30 years of operations is less than half of a single chest xray and amounts to less than 1% of the regulatory limits. Hand in hand with safety of the public and the workers, is safety for the environment. The station’s environmental record and performance has been reviewed numerous times, either through environmental assessments or ecological and health risk assessments. All of these reviews concluded that the station has
minimal impact.


NB Power and the Point Lepreau facility are an integral part of our community and our economic landscape. Approximately 800 employees work on the site full time. These are highly technical and well-paying jobs, many of them are in high demand in the industry and attract workers and their families to our region. These jobs include power engineers, industrial mechanics, technicians such as electrical control, chemical and mechanical, professional engineers, administration staff, emergency response teams such as industrial fire brigade, emergency, and medical services. The annual salary for direct jobs is equal to 100 million dollars.


Using statistics Canada data, we can estimate that the indirect and induced job effects are associated with more than 200 industries in New Brunswick. The in province jobs multiplier for this industry is 2.12, which means that for every direct job supported by the industry there is another 1.12 jobs associated with it indirectly through the supply chain and induced effects,
(which is the labour income spent throughout the economy). Using this methodology we can estimate that approximately 1,700 jobs are supported across New Brunswick by Point Lepreau, many in the Saint John region. During planned maintenance outages, over 1000 contractors join the Point Lepreau team, various trades including boilermakers, pipefitters, labourers and
electricians work for an average of 11 weeks. This valuable employment keeps our trades employed locally and presents an opportunity for apprentices to continue their training.
If Point Lepreau was to close and NB Power replaced it with another form of in province power generation, it is highly unlikely that the replacement would be anywhere near as job intensive, and therefore would have less economic activity.


The economic health of our region and our province has been identified as the top issue for our membership.  Our membership is supportive because they recognize and understand the benefits that come to our region because of Point Lepreau.   In a region hard hit by unemployment and large portion of our workforce forced to travel to other provinces for work, the PLNGS has a tremendous effect on employment in our region. Our NB building trades unions represent 18 local unions with 8700 members province wide, that includes approximately 7000 journey person and 1700 apprentices. This economic activity contributes to government tax
revenues which support our social programs and safety net upon which we have come to rely.


I thank the commission for the opportunity to speak to you today