Gentilly Nuclear Generating Station

Gentilly Nuclear Generating Station (or Centrale Nucléaire de Gentilly in French) is a Canadian nuclear power station located in Bécancour, Quebec. The facility derives its name from the Gentilly suburb of the city of Bécancour, in which it is located. It is around 100km north east of Montreal.

The Gentilly site contains the only power reactors in Quebec (there is also a SLOWPOKE reactor at the Ecole Polytechnique) and comprises two nuclear reactors (one CANDU-BWR prototype, and one CANDU) located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. The facility was constructed in stages between 19661983 by the provincial Crown corporation, Hydro-Québec. Gentilly-1 is closed and in the decommissioning process, while Gentilly-2 is currently in operation.


Gentilly-1 was a prototype CANDU-BWR reactor, based on the SGHWR design. It was designed for a net output of 250MW(e). The reactor had several features unique amongst CANDU reactors, including vertically-oriented pressure tubes (allowing for the use of a single fuelling machine below the core), and light-water coolant. These features were intended to reduce the cost and complexity of the unit, again to make it an attractive export unit. However, the design was not successful, and over nearly 7 years recorded only 180 on-power days. Gentilly-1 is no longer in operation.


Gentilly-2 is a standard CANDU 6 reactor, similar to the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station. The CANDU 6 is a successful reactor type, and has been exported to South Korea, Argentina, Romania and China. The plant has a net output of 638MW(e). Unlike the adjacent Gentilly-1 reactor, Gentilly-2 has had an excellent service record since start-up in 1982, and is due to shut down for refurbishment sometime around 2007.

The fate of the plant is not yet certain; it produces only 3% of the provincial energy supply (Quebec has massive hydro power plants in the north of the province), and Hydro-Québec may decide to close and decommission the unit rather than pay for an expensive refurbishment. Hydro-Québec will likely watch the upcoming refurbishment of Point Lepreau Generating Station closely to try to better determine the cost effectiveness of refurbishment for G-2. [August 19th, 2008] Quebec announced that it will spend $1.9B to overhaul Gentilly-2 that should extend it's lifespan to 2040.

The G-2 site also houses a 500MW gas turbine generation plant.

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