GE Energy to refurbish Gentilly 2 turbines

13 February 2009

GE Energy has been awarded a contract worth more than $120 million by Canada's Hydro-Quebec to refurbish the turbine island of its Gentilly 2 nuclear power reactor.

Gentilly 2
Gentilly 2 (Image: Hydro Quebec)
Under the contract, GE Energy will replace the generator rotor windings and the moisture separator-reheaters. In addition, the two low-pressure steam turbine rotors and diaphragms must be replaced and adjustments made to the turbine base plate. A new control system will also be installed.
Gentilly 2 is a 675 MWe gross (638 MWe net) Candu pressurized heavy-water reactor (PHWR) built by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL) between 1974 and 1982. The unit was commissioned in October 1983. Candu reactors require refurbishment and replacement of core components after about 25-30 years of operation. The process normally extends the unit's life by about the same amount.
Hydro Quebec decided in August 2008 to refurbish Gentilly 2 as an alternative to closing it in about 2011. The C$1.9 billion ($1.5 billion) investment includes construction of a radioactive waste management facility. Refurbishment of the reactor is expected to extend the operating life of Gentilly 2 unit to around 2040.
The engineering and procurement phase of the unit's refurbishment is already under way, with the construction work scheduled to start in 2011. The reactor is expected to return to commercial service in 2012 with an increased power generating capacity, although no figure has been specified.
Trevor Bailey, general manager of GE Energy's steam product line, commented: "Hydro-Quebec's investment in the refurbishment of the Gentilly 2 nuclear generating station shows the critical value of the plant as part of the future of power generation in Quebec and Canada."
The reactor currently accounts for some 3% of Quebec's energy output, with most of the remainder coming from hydroelectric plants.
The Point Lepreau nuclear power plant in New Brunswick - considered Gentilly-2's twin as both use Candu-6 reactors - is currently being refurbished at a cost of C$1.4 billion ($1.1 billion) to add another 25 years of operating life.
Another reactor at the Gentilly site, Gentilly 1, was a 250 MWe prototype boiling water reactor also built by AECL. The reactor entered commercial operation in May 1972 and was shut down in June 1977.

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