Does Hydro‑Québec intend to relaunch the nuclear industry in Québec?
How is Gentilly‑2 being decommissioned?
Decommissioning is a four-step process: Preparation for
dormancy, which covers unloading the reactor and deactivating the
systems; dormancy, in which spent fuel is stored for more than
40 years; dismantling the facilities; and, finally, site
What happened to the people who used to work there?
Hydro‑Québec fulfilled all its obligations under collective agreements. As
of October 31, 2016, all redundant employees (595) had been reassigned within
the company, 60% of them within the same region. Some nonetheless decided to
leave the company.
How will the Gentilly‑2 site be kept secure?
Hydro‑Québec has general contingency plans for all of its facilities that
take into account various scenarios, including natural disasters such as
earthquakes. For security reasons, the details of these plans must remain
confidential and the plans for the Gentilly‑2 facilities are no exception.
Even after these facilities have been decommissioned, Hydro‑Québec will
continue to secure the site in accordance with applicable regulations.
How long will waste remain on the site?
The spent fuel bundles safely stored in the CANSTOR storage modules will be
transferred to a deep geological repository around 2048. The NWMO is expected to
reveal its chosen site shortly.
Strategy for Radioactive Waste has tasked the NWMO
implementing an intermediate-level radioactive waste management solution. A deep
geological repository is the NWMO’s proposed solution following public
consultations across Canada.
The Strategy also wants low‑level radioactive waste generators and owners
remain responsible for implementing long-term disposal in keeping with
international best practices, taking into account characteristics, volume,
proximity to the existing interim waste facilities, community acceptance and
technical considerations. Building near‑surface disposal facilities for
low‑level waste is one of the Strategy’s recommendations.
For the time being, all radioactive waste at Gentilly‑2 will continue to be
stored onsite in robust, secure concrete facilities.
Can decommissioning activities have an impact on the environment or on public
All decommissioning activities carried out at the Gentilly‑2 site are
subject to strict environmental and safety standards and are closely monitored.
Just as it did during operation, Hydro‑Québec complies with all regulatory
requirements. Current environmental monitoring at the Gentilly‑2
facilities has demonstrated that decommissioning activities have had no notable
impact on the environment nor any impact on the health of employees or the
public. These conclusions were confirmed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety
Commission, which asserted that “the Independent Environmental Monitoring
Program (IEMP) results for 2015, 2016 and 2018 indicate that the public and
environment near the G-2 Facilities are protected and that there are no expected
health or environmental impacts.”
How can we be sure that work will be done following best practices and in full
compliance with regulations?
The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission regulates the entire life cycle of nuclear
power plants. It is in charge of ensuring that decommissioning activities are
carried out in accordance with its regulatory requirements in order to protect
workers, the public and the environment. Hydro‑Québec will comply with
applicable regulations, as it did throughout Gentilly-2’s years of operation.
How long will it take for the site to be restored to its initial state?
The site will be fully restored at the end of the dismantlement, around
Are Indigenous communities involved in the decommissioning process?
For matters related to the Gentilly‑2 facilities, as with all projects
the Odanak and Wôlinak Abenaki communities, we are in contact with W8banaki, the
tribal council that works with these communities. In 2021, we agreed to conduct
archaeological surveys on the Gentilly 2 site and identify black ash, a valuable
tree species used in their traditional activities.
What is Hydro‑Québec doing to ensure that it has a highly specialized
workforce in light of the labor shortage and loss of expertise due to the aging
For the most part, the personnel working at the Gentilly‑2 facilities were
there when the nuclear power plant was in operation. They have invaluable
expertise and a process has been put in place to ensure that their knowledge is
passed on to new specialized staff. We also practise exemplary document
management to ensure the future generations handling the rest of the nuclear
facilities’ life cycle can access quality information during the full
decommissioning of the facilities and site remediation.