15 September 2012

Canada: Quebec’s Only Reactor to Close

A spokesperson for the newly elected government of Quebec confirmed that it will keep its pre-electoral promise and close the province’s only nuclear reactor by the end of 2012, when the current operating license runs out. Owner Quebec Hydro had originally planned to refurbish the 635 MW Gentilly-2 heavy water reactor starting in 2013 and the previous liberal government had accepted the plan. But an analogous upgrading at New Brunswick’s Point Lepreau plant had turned out years late and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. A long-standing controversy of the health and environment impact of the plant has received new fuel by a TV documentary entitled “Gentilly or not to be” that suggests increased cancer rates and genetically induced malformations might be caused by radioactive emissions. The reactor that generates about 3% of the province’s electricity has been shut down since July 2012 due to unspecified technical problems. It might never restart.