Gentilly licence renewal pending refurb

30 June 2011

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has granted a five-year renewal for the operating licence for the Gentilly 2 nuclear power station in Quebec which will also provide for the refurbishment of the plant during the period to 2016. The new licence, which will be merged with the plant's waste management facility licence, will be valid from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2016. As part of its decision, CNSC has said that a planned shutdown of the reactor must be carried out before 31 December 2011, and that it must be shut down for repairs or put in a "guaranteed shutdown state" by 31 December 2012. Further regulatory approval will be required before the plant can restart. Plant operator Hydro-Quebec announced in August 2010 that it was postponing refurbishment work on the 638 MWe Candu unit by a year to 2012. At the time, Hydro-Quebec cited uncertainties over the future ownership of state company AECL as one of the reasons behind the postponement. The Canadian government has since agreed to sell AECL's commercial division to SNC-Lavalin.