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NB Power Employee Helps Rescue a Fellow New Brunswicker

August 18 2020, 16:40 PM

NB Power Employee Helps Rescue a Fellow New Brunswicker

Sometimes heroes wear hard hats instead of capes.

Terry Bass, a Construction Manager at NB Power, certainly wasn’t expecting to be part of a life-saving rescue when he went to work on a beautiful summer morning. Terry was working alongside a crew from East Coast Powerline in the forest near Allardville. With the help of a Vortex company helicopter, they were working on reliability upgrades in northern New Brunswick.

While on top of an 80-foot tall tower, a member of the crew heard someone calling out for help. They yelled in the direction of the sound and a woman shouted back that she’d been lost in the woods for days and couldn’t walk anymore.

Terry and the rest of the team jumped into action, starting the emergency response plan they learn before each project. They coordinated with Ambulance NB and the RCMP before setting off in the helicopter. Armed with a backboard and medical supplies, the team was dropped off near the marshy rescue area.  

“The crew waded through knee-deep water, grass, mud, and kept going until they found her,” said Terry. “Amazingly she was able to speak and in good spirits but was not able to get out of there on her own. We worked together to carry her out of the marsh and onto solid ground. Then we figured out the nearest access road and carried her through the dense forest and brush while medics attended to her needs.”

After hiking about 2.4 kilometers, the crew was shocked to discover it was a woman from Saint-Isidore who had been missing for nearly two weeks. RCMP and Ground Search and Rescue had been looking for her.

“I just can’t believe she’s alive,” said Terry. “She said she’d been drinking water on leaves and eating berries she found on the ground. It’s remarkable that she was doing so well after such a terrible experience. We are all so happy that we happened to be in the right place – a very remote one – to be able to help her get home.”

Terry and the crew helped first responders get the woman to an ambulance and she was taken to hospital and treated for minor injuries. She is happy to be back home, thanks to the heroics of our team.

Anyone who knows Terry won’t be surprised that he played a role in this life-saving mission. He is passionate about helping others and is a perfect example of what our employees are all about.

At NB Power, we are proud of our people that are the heart of our company. Working in communities across our great province, our employees have been serving New Brunswickers for more than 100 years.

This story is a powerful example of how a perfectly-timed coincidence, paired with courage and know-how, can change someone’s life.



Local nuclear expert Paul Thompson Receives Award for Industry Contributions

July 21 2020, 10:03 AM

Local nuclear expert Paul Thompson Receives Award for Industry Contributions

Whether he’s presenting a safety case to the nuclear regulator, or showing kids how nuclear power is generated, Paul Thompson is in his element. Combine his extensive technical knowledge with his cheerful personality and great sense of humour, and you’ve got one of our region’s most trusted experts on nuclear power.

Over his 40 plus-year career, most of which at the Point Lepreau Generating Station (PLNGS), Paul has made important contributions, both technical and non-technical, to the nuclear industry. Respected by his peers for his passion for everything related to nuclear safety and nuclear asset management, Paul continues to be an invaluable part of the NB Power team.

He recently received the Harold A. Smith Outstanding Contribution Award by the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) for his extensive contributions to the Canadian nuclear industry. The award highlighted his work involving nuclear power plant safety, plant life extension, and the development of Advanced Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) here in New Brunswick.

“I am truly honoured to be recognized by my peers and am humbled when I look at current and past award recipients,” said Paul. “I have been extremely fortunate throughout my career to work in such a great industry at such a wonderful company. I’ve been able to work on exciting and interesting projects alongside so many amazing energy experts. As they say, it really is not work if you enjoy your job!”

Paul started his nuclear journey graduating from the Engineering Mathematics program at Queen's University, specializing in the fields of Thermal Sciences and Nuclear Engineering. 

Paul has led many successful teams at NB Power, including Nuclear Safety, Regulatory Affairs, Emergency Preparedness, Security and Fire and Performance Improvement. A real team player, he has always found time to support other projects and working groups both within the company and the industry.

Paul has also been a regular point of contact with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission at hearings and meetings, has served as a Board Member for the CANDU Owners Group (COG), as well as a Board member for the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research - a research arm of the University of New Brunswick. He also remains an active member and contributor to the CNS, authoring and co-authoring several papers to assist his peers.   He has also held the position of CNS President twice and has been involved with the organization of numerous conferences.

“Throughout my years at Lepreau, one of my main objectives has always been to ensure that our values of safety, quality, diversity and innovation are reflected in all aspects of nuclear in New Brunswick,” says Paul. “I believe that this is being demonstrated every day by the dedicated nuclear team at Point Lepreau. Collaboration, teamwork and the expertise of my peers all play a significant part in the successful operation of the station on a daily basis.”

Most recently, Paul was the Station’s Deputy Chief Nuclear Officer, prior to his retirement in 2019. Paul has remained a key part of the team as a Senior Strategic Advisor responsible for assessing the development of Advanced SMRs.

“I believe that nuclear energy has a key role to play in our vision of sustainable energy for future generations,” he indicated. “New Brunswick is well positioned to benefit from new opportunities thanks to the know-how of our people and the tremendous asset we have in Point Lepreau.”

Canadian Nuclear Achievement Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues, community members and nuclear peers for leadership, dedication, and passion for nuclear power.

All of us at NB Power would like to congratulate Paul on a remarkable career in the nuclear industry here in New Brunswick and this well-earned award.

Kathleen Duguay Receives National Award Recognizing her Contributions to Nuclear Education and Communication

July 7 2020, 11:44 AM

Kathleen Duguay Receives National Award Recognizing her Contributions to Nuclear Education and Communication

Ask anyone in the communities around the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station (PLNGS) who their go-to person is for questions about the plant, and 99% will point you to Kathleen Duguay.

As NB Power’s Manager of Community Affairs and Nuclear Regulatory Protocol, she is often the “face” of the Station and has fostered many important relationships with nearby residents, First Nations communities and stakeholders.

Kathleen was recently awarded with a national Education and Communication Award from the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) to recognize her outstanding career.

During her 32 years at NB Power, Kathleen has demonstrated a sustained and unwavering commitment to external education and communication about nuclear power and the operation of PLNGS.  Her work has created and maintained the “social licence” for the generating station.  Through Kathleen’s natural ability to actively listen and connect with people, she has put a friendly face on the nuclear community in New Brunswick.


This strong capacity for relationship building with a diversity of groups and individuals has allowed her to build trust and respect with various stakeholders and rightsholders at the local, provincial, national and international levels throughout the years including First Nations, special interest groups, the local community, the general public, workers, contractors, government, regulators and the media.

She is an industry leader in community relations who has cultivated deep roots throughout New Brunswick. By being transparent, trustworthy and accessible, Kathleen has developed lasting relationships with everyone from the lobster fishermen who work the waters near Point Lepreau to members of First Nation communities in all corners of the province.

A great example of her strong commitment to transparency and nuclear education is the establishment of a Community Relations Liaison Committees at Point Lepreau. The Committee has served as a vehicle for two-way information sharing in the communities around the Station for the past 25 years. The fact that Kathleen has co-chaired this Committee for more than two decades is an accomplishment on its own.  

“Making sure our neighbours know what is happening at the Station is one of our most important jobs,” said Kathleen. “The relationships we have built with our Committee members are based on trust, respect and transparency. Members know that they can count on us for honest and timely updates on the things that matter to them. Through this Committee and other activities, we demonstrate our personal accountability to community engagement.”

Her work played an important role in bringing an outside perspective into the nuclear industry, to improve awareness and understanding, and to influence the way business is performed. As part of Point Lepreau’s public communication program, she developed various newsletters, brochures, school age-specific materials, plant updates and videos that showcase the power plant throughout its lifecycle, with a strong focus on the safety of workers, the community, and the environment.

For many years, Kathleen was the Media Relations Manager and the voice of NB Power, sharing the utility’s story with the local, provincial and national media. In that role, she also led communications and community relations efforts during the refurbishment of PLNGS.

She has managed community relations programs for other NB Power initiatives and projects across the province. Kathleen is no stranger to the inside of the nuclear plant where she began her career with Point Lepreau and has acted as a Radiation Protection Assistant and Human Performance Manager. She is also a seasoned member of the Station’s Emergency Response Incident Command Team.

A New Brunswicker through and through, Kathleen is also an active volunteer in her community, and she has brought her communication skills and love of New Brunswick to a host of important initiatives of benefit to her community.

Canadian Nuclear Achievement Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues, community members and nuclear peers for leadership, dedication, and passion for nuclear power. 

All of us at NB Power would like to congratulate Kathleen on this well-deserved award and an exceptional career serving New Brunswickers, employees and the nuclear industry.


Gaëtan Thomas honoured with national award for contribution to advancement of nuclear energy

June 29 2020, 15:06 PM

Gaetan Thomas honoured with national award for contribution to advancement of nuclear energy

NB Power’s former President and CEO, Gaëtan Thomas, was recently honoured with a national award to mark his leadership at the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station and his contributions to positioning NB Power as a national leader in the development of Advanced Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

He received the Ian McRae Award, which is presented every year by the Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) and the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA), to recognize the contribution of an individual to the general advancement of nuclear energy in Canada through management, administration, public service, medicine, communication and the arts.

“I have always believed that excellence starts with love and a passion for what you do,” said Mr. Thomas.  “I am honoured to receive this award, but I want to acknowledge the hundreds of dedicated nuclear employees at NB Power who, through hard work, leadership and expertise, have helped position New Brunswick as a world leader in the nuclear industry. I have always been a proponent of teamwork because together everyone achieves more, and we have become a leader in our field because of the dedicated New Brunswickers who work hard every day towards achieving excellence.”

Throughout his 38-year career at NB Power, Mr. Thomas has advanced nuclear energy in many ways through different roles. Before his 10-year tenure as NB Power’s President and CEO, he held the role of Chief Nuclear Officer and Vice President Nuclear. In 2018, he was also appointed as the Chairman of the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO)-Atlanta Centre Regional Governing Board.

In recent years, he has been instrumental in positioning NB Power as a leader in the development and deployment of Advanced Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). He has successfully worked with the New Brunswick Government to encourage investment in SMR technology.

“I am very proud of the work that has been accomplished during my time at NB Power to position New Brunswick as a leader in the future of nuclear energy in Canada as well as here in New Brunswick,” said Thomas. “Small modular reactors are the next generation of nuclear technology because of their potential to generate low-carbon electricity safely, reliably, and inexpensively. They offer great flexibility for a number of uses within the province’s power grid.”

A New Brunswicker through and through, Mr. Thomas was born and raised in the small northern New Brunswick community of Tilley Road. His first job at NB Power was at the Eel River High Voltage Direct Current Converter Station. Throughout the years, he became a leader known for engaging with staff at all levels of the organization, facilitating a culture of innovation and excellence and has always demonstrated well NB Power’s values of safety, quality, diversity and innovation.

He led his team through the completion of many major projects, including the Point Lepreau Refurbishment, extending the Station’s life by 30-plus years. In 2019, under Mr. Thomas’ leadership, Point Lepreau also achieved the highest industry standards as assessed by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO).

Point Lepreau and its employees continue to be part of the fabric of New Brunswick - living and working in communities around the province, while driving the economy and producing energy that supports day to day life in New Brunswick.

Canadian Nuclear Achievement Award recipients were nominated by their colleagues, community members and nuclear peers for leadership, dedication, and passion for nuclear power.

All of us at NB Power would like to congratulate Mr. Thomas on this well-deserved award and an exceptional career serving customers and the industry.

High flying work aims to keep migratory birds safe

December 23 2019, 10:06 AM

High flying work aims to keep migratory birds safe

It’s not every day you find yourself hovering hundreds of feet in the air, strapped to the side of a helicopter.

But for a group of NB Power powerline technicians, this has been part of their job for the past two weeks.

The task? Installing two types of bird diverters on 25 km of transmission lines stretching from Memramcook to Sackville, New Brunswick. The first diverter is yellow and coiled, and the technicians twist it onto 138 kV lines. The second type looks more like a small black and yellow tent, and it gets snapped onto the highest point on the larger 345 kV lines.

When migratory birds, like ospreys are flying near powerlines, these diverters help keep them safe by helping them see the powerlines easier. By installing these at the highest point, we can divert the birds higher up so they fly over these much taller lines.

It’s not an easy job. But the team are highly skilled and hyper focused on the task at hand. They’re harnessed in to keep them safe while attaching the diverters to the lines.

“It takes a bit of getting used to – especially the first five or 10 minutes … but after that you just go about your business,” says transmission powerline technician, Shawn MacKinnon.

The pilot uses a steady hand to keep the helicopter as still as possible for both the pilot and the powerline technician’s safety. The talent and precision of the pilot makes a big difference in how well the work goes, and in this case, the NB Power crew gave two thumbs up for Mike Maurice of Vortex Helicopters who was at the stick.

“One of the biggest surprises was the size of the skid we stand on. It is not much bigger than the sideboard you would find on a pick-up truck,” MacKinnon said. “But you get use to it. We were lucky in that it’s usually very windy on the Tantramar marshes, but not when we were there. And the downdraft from the rotors wasn’t bad at all. It couldn’t have gone much better.”

Want to see what this work looks like from the sky? Check out the video below.

Last week the team wrapped up installing 3,200 of these diverters in addition to inspecting and maintaining 28 transmission towers. Doing this work by air instead of land minimizes the impact to these wetland areas, while allowing the team to work quickly along the lines to install the diverters.

Other line technicians who worked on the project were Hunter Smith, Grant Donnelly and Jason McKellar. Supervisor Pat Daigle was pleased with the work and noted the crews saw bald eagles, golden eagles and osprey when they were on the job.