SAINT JOHN, N.B. - NB Power says it has completed a major part of the refurbishment of Atlantic Canada's only nuclear power plant.

The provincial Crown utility company says all 760 lower feeders have been installed at the Point Lepreau generating station in New Brunswick.

The feeders are used to transport water to and from the reactor's fuel channels.

In a statement today, NB Power says the next major part of the refurbishment will be loading new fuel in the reactor, which is expected to begin this month.

The refurbishment is three years behind schedule and $1 billion over the original $1.4-billion budget.

The utility says Point Lepreau is expected to return to service by the fall.