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Bruce Power (TransCanada Pipelines, Cameco etc.) to buy out Peace River Nuke Project for Tarpits

Bruce Power jumping into Alberta nuclear project

Jon Harding, Financial Post
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2007

CALGARY -- Bruce Power LP, operator of Canada's largest nuclear plant in western Ontario, has signed a letter of intent to buy some assets from Energy Alberta Corp., the private Calgary-based company that had planned to build a nuclear reactor in northern Alberta.

As part of the transaction, Bruce Power, which is majority owned by Calgary-based pipeline giant TransCanada Corp., will acquire exclusive rights to use CANDU technology in Alberta.

Those right were held by Energy Alberta, acquired earlier this year from Crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., makers of the CANDU technology and a partner in Energy Alberta's nuclear power plant plan in Alberta, where there is today no nuclear-powered electricity generation.

In effect, Energy Alberta, founded by Calgary businessman Wayne Henuset and oilpatch veteran Hank Swartout, founder of Precision Drilling Trust, is handing its project off to Bruce Power.

"Hank and I started Energy Alberta with the goal of building a nuclear power plant in Alberta," Mr. Henuset said in a release. "We have done a tremendous amount to position the project for the next phase and having Bruce Power Alberta take over, with their experience as an operator, will ensure our dream becomes a reality."

Mr. Henuset will stay on as an advisor to Bruce Power Alberta once the transaction is complete.

Energy Alberta said in the summer its 2,200-megawatt, twin-reactor facility would be built by 2017 by AECL, using its CANDU technology. No price was given for the exclusivity rights to using CANDU technology in Alberta.

TransCanada CEO Hal Kvisle said last month the company was preparing to join the list of firms interested in satisfying Alberta's soaring power needs with nuclear energy.

TransCanada, Mr. Kvisle said, is doing "detailed homework" assessing the viability of nuclear as a power source in Alberta, where rivals in the nuclear-energy business have also been gauging public and government support.

In addition to pipelines, the company owns and operates a fleet of gas-fired power-generation facilities in Canada and the United States, as well as a majority stake in Ontario's Bruce nuclear-power facility, which is operated by Bruce Power LP.

Alberta today consumes about 9,000 megawatts of electricity and expectations are growth, especially from within the surging oilsands sector, should drive demand to about 14,000 megawatts by 2016. Energy Alberta Corp. said in the summer it is planning a $6.2-billion nuclear plant in the province's northwest Peace Country, and in August it filed an application with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for a licence to prepare a site.

Financial Post


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