Gentilly 2 licence renewal

11 January 2007

Following two days of public discussions, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), announced on December 22 to renew Hydro-Québec's licence to operate Gentilly 2 until the end of 2010. A subsequent licence renewal and refurbishment could see it operate until around 2035.

A CNSC statement said the public hearings, held in Ottawa and Bécanour, considered oral and written submissions from Hydro-Québec, the CNSC and 14 "interveners" before concluding that the company is "qualified to operate the facility and that it will make adequate provision for the protection of the environment, the health and safety of persons, and the maintenance of national security and measures required to implement international obligations to which Canada has agreed."

Gentilly 2 is a 675 MWe Candu pressurized heavy-water reactor (PHWR) built by AECL between 1974 and 1982. Candu reactors require refurbishment and replacement of core components after about 25-30 years of operation and the process normally extends the unit's life by about the same amount. Hydro-Québec is currently performing scoping and costing activities for the potential refurbishment of Gentilly 2 which could result in that work taking place around 2010-2.

At Gentilly 2, modifications would also have to be made to radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel storage facilities to allow such an extension, and Hydro-Québec has notified the CNSC of its plans in this area carried out an environmental assessment and public hearings. Marcelle Trepanier of Hydro-
Québec told WNN that given all the necessary waste management authorisations a decision on refurbishment could be taken in 2008.

Another reactor at the site, Gentilly 1 was a 250MWe prototype boiling water reactor also built by AECL. Gentilly 1 was shut down in 1977.

Further information

AECL
Hyrdro-Québec

Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

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