Nuclear Revival on the Horizon? Quebec Energy Minister Supports Review of Gentilly-2 Reactor

Quebec’s Energy Minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, has voiced his support for Hydro-Québec’s exploration into the potential revival of the province’s sole nuclear power facility, the Gentilly-2 reactor in Bécancour. 

Responding to the utility’s recent announcement of considering the reactor’s restart to meet rising energy demands, Fitzgibbon emphasized the need to investigate all available energy sources as Quebec aims to move away from fossil fuels.

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Fitzgibbon stressed that outright rejection of nuclear power would be “irresponsible,” especially as the province seeks to address its evolving energy landscape. He further emphasized that any future energy ventures should align with social acceptance and economic viability.

The initiative by Hydro-Québec, under the leadership of new CEO Michael Sabia, aims to assess the current condition of the Gentilly-2 plant and evaluate potential energy supply options for Quebec’s future. This decision has sparked criticism from environmental group Greenpeace Canada and opposition politicians, prompting calls for a broader national dialogue on the province’s energy trajectory.

Highlighting the changing energy dynamics since the 2012 closure of Gentilly-2 due to refurbishment costs, Fitzgibbon acknowledged that the current demand for electricity surpasses Hydro-Québec’s available capacity. 

“And (Sabia) is saying that we have to look at the energy sources available, which include nuclear, but we are far from having decided; no decision has been made, either by Hydro-Québec or the government,” the minister said.

To address the shortfall, Fitzgibbon urged both industrial consumers and residents to reconsider their energy consumption patterns, underscoring the necessity of augmenting renewable energy capacities and transitioning to electric vehicles.

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