Debate over Lepreau future continues

N.B. Power is trying to decide whether to spend $750-million to refurbish the Point Lepreau. The plant will reach the end of its life in two thousand and 2008.

At an N.B. Power information session in Saint John Tuesday staff from the nuclear plant explained why they want to refurbish the plant.

N.B. Power says it wants a thorough examination of the cost and the alternatives.

Rod White, N.B. Power's Vice President of Nuclear, calls the plant an environmentally friendly source of electricity.

"It has no emissions that we're used to from fossil stations like carbon or sulphur."

But environmentalists strongly disagree. They say it's like owning the most expensive car in the world -- every time something goes wrong, it costs a small fortune to fix it.

David Coon of the New Brunswick Conservation Council says there's no justification for nuclear power.

"The conservation council's position is that making electricity from splitting the atom is inherently risky and it produces lethal radioactive waste that we don't know how to dispose of or neutralize to make them safe, so we can't be convinced that there's any basis for refurbishing it."

N,B. Power says it has about a year and a half to decide what to do. Even if the decision is to decommission the plant, it would cost close to a billion dollars.