Trois-Rivières, December 19, 2022

Press Release

Almost 10 years ago, Hydro-Québec permanently shut down the Gentilly-2 nuclear reactor

At 11:02 p.m. on December 28, 2012, the nuclear reactor at Gentilly-2 generating station was permanently shut down. After 29 years of safe and reliable service, Gentilly-2 entered a new phase in its life cycle: decommissioning. Now, a decade later, here is an overview of the steps taken to properly cease operations at the facilities, where nearly 40 people are still employed. 

Review – Key dates

  • September 3, 2013: All the spent fuel bundles are transferred from the nuclear reactor to a pool to be stored until 2020.
  • May 2016: The external nuclear emergency response plan is abolished by the Organisation régionale de la sécurité civile Mauricie–Centre-du-Québec, which announces that the nuclear generating station no longer constitutes a risk to neighboring populations. 
  • June 2016: A new nuclear power plant decommissioning license, valid for 10 years, is issued.
  • October 2016: All 595 surplus employees are reassigned within the company, and 60% choose to remain in the Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec regions. Very few leave to work for another employer.
  • April 2017: The last two spent fuel dry storage modules on the site are put into operation.
  • December 2020: All the spent fuel bundles are stored in the dry storage modules on the site.

 Next steps – The future of the Gentilly-2 facilities

 Gentilly-2 is currently being transitioned to the monitored storage phase. Soon, the main activities will focus on carrying out radiological, environmental and physical monitoring and managing the aging infrastructure. Fifteen employees will oversee and maintain the facilities over the next 40 years.

 Hydro-Québec will also pursue its efforts to reconfigure the facilities’ systems (ventilation, electricity, water supply, sanitation, etc.), as their capacities exceed current needs. Doing so will simplify maintenance and monitoring until the generating station is dismantled by 2057. 

 The company is currently exploring the possibility of dismantling some of the buildings that contain little or no radioactive material earlier than initially planned to ensure they do not become the responsibility of future generations. Early dismantling will also eliminate some fire hazards and avoid the burden of maintaining buildings that are no longer in use. Over the coming months, Hydro-Québec will refine the project’s technical and economic data and gather feedback from stakeholders.

Regional contracts and equipment recovery

 Over the past 10 years, regional contracts for goods, work and services valued at nearly $30 million were awarded to businesses in the Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec regions. Across the province, close to $79 million in contracts were issued for similar needs. These contracts cover the construction of the last spent fuel dry storage modules, janitorial services, equipment installation, equipment rental and more.

 Since 2013, Hydro-Québec has sold or repurposed $15.9 million in equipment from Gentilly-2, including generators, valves and other specialized parts. As the decommissioning process progresses, more equipment will become available. It will first be offered to Hydro-Québec teams for reuse and then sold or otherwise repurposed.

 The decommissioning efforts continue to be carried out in line with our four priorities: facility safety, the health and safety of our workers and the public, radiation protection and respect for the environment.

 

Learn more

Decommissioning of the Gentilly-2 facilities web page – Detailed information on decommissioning operations

> Hydro-Québec media library – Access to a series of images of the Gentilly-2 nuclear generating station that may be used free of charge

 

Information

Media hotline
1 844 289-5005

Top of page