Hydro-Québec will refurbish Gentilly-2 nuclear generating station

    MONTREAL, Aug. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Hydro-Québec will invest $1.9 billion to
refurbish Gentilly-2 nuclear generating station in Bécancour. Refurbishing the
675-MW plant will extend its operation until about 2040, allowing Hydro-Québec
to keep a reliable asset that contributes significantly to the stability of
its power grid. This generating facility, in commercial operation for
25 years, has another advantage: it does not produce any greenhouse-gas

    Project rationale

    After conducting many technical, economic and safety-related studies,
Hydro-Québec has determined that it is justified to continue operating the
existing facility. A reliable, continuous source of energy located near major
load centres in the St. Lawrence Valley, Gentilly-2 generating station also
plays an important role in maintaining the stability and reliability of
Hydro-Québec's transmission grid. Its annual output is approximately
5 TWh-enough power to supply 270,000 homes. The unit cost of energy generated
from 2012 onward will be 7.2cents/kWh. Since it is not subject to vagaries of
the weather, Gentilly-2 helps diversify the company's generating portfolio and
thus contributes to securing Quebecers' energy supply.

    The project

    The project has two components: refurbishment of Gentilly-2 nuclear
generating station, commissioned in 1983, and construction of a solid
radioactive waste management facility (SRWMF).
    With regard to refurbishing the generating station, engineering and
procurement will commence in 2008 and construction work will begin in 2011,
with a return-to-service in 2012. Construction activities consist in
refurbishing the reactor, the turbo-generator unit, as well as the control and
support systems.
    Construction work on the SRWMF is divided into four phases. Phase 1,
already under way, will meet the plant's immediate operating requirements with
the building of storage units for low- and medium-level solid radioactive
waste. Phase 2 will provide storage for radioactive waste arising from plant
refurbishment work. The other phases will meet the plant's needs until the end
of its operating life.
    Every day, more than 800 employees work to ensure the safe, secure
operation of Gentilly-2 generating station. All personnel adhere to a strict,
safety-oriented operational framework based on commitment and teamwork, with a
view to protecting public health and the environment. Employees who
participate in the plant's operation and refurbishment scrupulously comply
with the standards, regulations and legislation in effect. All Hydro-Québec
employees are subject to radiological monitoring to ensure their personal
safety and security. The same protective measures apply at all times to the
employees of contractors, who must also take part in appropriate training

    Regional economic spinoffs

    The operation of Gentilly-2 generating station produces direct regional
spinoffs of approximately $100 million in the Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec
region. The project will make it possible to maintain these spinoffs.
    The refurbishment project will result in approximately $600 million in
spinoffs for Québec as a whole-one third of them in the host region.
Refurbishment of the generating station alone will create about 800 jobs over
a 20-month period, in addition to the facility's current staff. To maximize
regional economic impacts, Hydro-Québec will continue to work with the
regional economic benefits committee, whose mandate is to facilitate
communication and discussion with business people in the community.

    For more information on the Gentilly-2 refurbishment, click here.

For further information:

For further information: Marc-Brian Chamberland, Senior Advisor - Media,
(514) 289-2220; http://www.hydroquebec.com/media

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