NB Power and the union representing most of its workers say a strike by nuclear engineers will not affect the refurbishment of Point Lepreau.
A group of senior engineers helping to refurbish New Brunswick's nuclear power plant went on strike Monday morning after failing to reach a contract with their employer. Hundreds of members of The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates walked off the job.
The engineers used to work for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, however Ottawa sold their division to SNC-Lavalin in a controversial deal last year.
The engineers said the decision to privatize part of the industry is causing a massive brain drain that will hurt Canada's nuclear industry and economy.
"It's reached a point where we don't think we can attract anybody new to come into the company...anybody in this industry has better working conditions. That includes other private companies," said Marius Vartolomei, vice-president of the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates.
The union representing the specialized engineers said their members are taking their unique skills to new jobs in other countries.
However, NB Power said there will be no impact on the restart of Lepreau.
The utility said only five specialised engineers and associates remain on site because the re-tubing contract they supervised is almost complete.
Ross Galbraith of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers at Lepreau said his members can finish the job by this fall as scheduled.
"We have about 100 professional engineers in our membership, who work at Point Lepreau and have been staffing that station and operating and helping to provide engineering support for the last 30 years. So we've got folks there who are really world class experts as well. And I know that NB Power's contingency plan is in place," he said.
"I've got full confidence in our folks that we'll be able to do the things that need to be done to reassure the regulator and our owners and the public of New Brunswick, that this plant is ready to go."
The The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates met Monday in Ontario to discuss strategy.
If they set up a picket line the other unionized workers will have to cross it or face discipline under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.