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History of Gentilly-1 Nuclear Generating Station

The Gentilly-1 Nuclear Generating Station project was part of Québec’s desire to master the emerging technology of nuclear power in the 1960s. At the time, experts were anticipating an increase in electricity consumption in Québec, but hydroelectricity alone would not be enough to meet demand. It was thought necessary to generate nuclear power, which would make a significant contribution to the Québec electricial grid.

It was against this backdrop that the announcement to build the future Gentilly-1 Nuclear Generating Station was made in 1965 under the political government of Jean Lesage. Gentilly-1 was  a prototype CANDU-BLW-250 MWe reactor  Unlike the other Canadian power reactors at the time (NPD, DP), Gentilly-1 was a boiling water reactor, and utilized a vertical fuel arrangement, and light water cooling.

Gentilly-1 officially became operational on November 12, 1970. Six months later, on April 5, 1971, the reactor  produced electricity for the first time. Gentilly-1 officially became Quebec’s first operational nuclear reactor in 1972.