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May 07, 2024

Transparency & Action: The latest in CNL’s public engagement for the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project

On the south shore of the St. Lawrence River near Bécancour, Québec, lies the Gentilly-1 Waste Management Facility (G1WF). The G1WF consists of an inoperative nuclear reactor, Gentilly-1 (G-1), and supporting infrastructure. The G-1 reactor was a prototype CANDU reactor that was put into service in 1972 and permanently shut down in 1980. Since then, the reactor has remained safely shut down, and the facility has been in a state of safe, long-term storage with ongoing monitoring. Operations at the site are conducted under a licence issued to Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

CNL plans to decommission the G1WF. CNL will first request approval from the CNSC to undertake the work. This process will include opportunities for the public and Indigenous nations, communities and organizations to provide input on CNL’s plans. Once the necessary approvals are in place, the inoperative reactor will be dismantled and the other structures on the site will be demolished.

The G1WF is adjacent to the Gentilly-2 nuclear generating station. Hydro-Québec owns the Gentilly-2 facility and the land on which both facilities are located. Restoration plans for the site will be developed and undertaken in consultation with Hydro-Québec.

A closer look at the where the G1WF sits in relation to the Gentilly-2 Facility

It is anticipated that the Commission will hold a public meeting on the application in 2025. CNL has dedicated project communications staff and will provide regular information updates as well as opportunities to discuss the project and have questions answered by technical subject matter experts.

CNL is committed to providing opportunities for meaningful engagement with Indigenous nations, communities and organizations that are rights holders or have expressed an interest in the project. CNL will be hosting in person information sessions and virtual webinars throughout the licensing and decommissioning processes. Printed information will be distributed to the region, and online information will be available here.

The safety of the public, workers and the environment is CNL’s number one priority. The decommissioning work and related activities will be conducted in compliance with all health and safety, environmental protection, radiation protection and transportation protocols and regulations. Preliminary work to prepare for the decommissioning of the site is underway. This work includes removing used nuclear fuel stored on the site and safely transporting it to Chalk River Laboratories as part of CNL’s Integrated Waste Strategy. Transportation of radioactive materials is a highly regulated activity, and CNL will meet the stringent requirements of both Transport Canada and the CNSC.

CNL began introductory public and Indigenous engagement efforts for the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project in Spring 2023. Most recently, in Spring 2024, engagement efforts continued via an in person public information session held in Bécancour, Québec. Members of the local Bécancour population, including the Abenaki reserves of Odanak and Wôlinak, were invited to discuss and learn more about the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project with both CNL and CNSC representatives who were present. While in Bécancour, CNL also met with members of Bécancour City Hall to discuss the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project.

CNL’s representatives at the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project public information session in Bécancour, QC, on April 9 2024

 L-R: G-1 Project Leader Alexandre Masse; G-1 Facility Authority Julie Therrien; G-1 Decommissioning Advisor Steve Plante; Senior Communications Officer Alexandra Riopelle; G-1 Decommissioning Technologist Jeffrey Fortin

During the same timeframe, CNL hosted the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project virtual webinar, open to the public. Led by CNL G-1 Decommissioning Advisor Steve Plante, the webinar saw over a hundred people in attendance, including some journalists.  Webinar attendees had numerous questions concerning the project and CNL’s technical subject matter experts – including Steve Plante, Julie Therrien, and Matthew Stever – answered them all. The recording of the webinar is available on CNL’s YouTube channel and website.

Prior to these engagements, CNL – via Canada Post – mailed out ~10,000 copies of an explanatory pamphlet that advertised the upcoming in person public information session and virtual webinar, and that contained key information on the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project. The pamphlets were distributed to the local Bécancour, Québec population and to the Abenaki reserves of Odanak and Wôlinak, living near the G1WF. CNL was also diligent in posting on our social media networks to promote the engagement events and share Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project updates

Images from CNL’s Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project public information session in Bécancour, QC on April 9, 2024

L-R: CNL Decommissioning Technologist Jeffrey Fortin demonstrates VR simulation of the interior of the G-1 Reactor building to Bécancour residents; CNSC representatives Petar Igric, Jaime Bogden and Ary Pirazzi; CNL Decommissioning Advisor Steve Plante presenting the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project to Bécancour residents

CNL’s engagement efforts in Bécancour, Québec in early April 2024 garnered media attention from various news outlets across Québec and Canada. VIA 90.5, a Francophone community radio station that operates in Bécancour, reported on the new project details currently available. Mauricie regional newspaper based in Trois-Riviere, Québec, Le Nouvelliste, published information obtained by attending CNL’s Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project webinar on April 9 2024. CBC Radio Canada also showed interest in the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project engagements that took place, producing a video journal discussing the Gentilly-1 Decommissioning Project and what is to come, as well as an article following the updates of the webinar and public information session.

CNL G-1 Decommissioning Advisor, Steve Plante, being interviewed by CBC Radio Canada’s Charles-Antoine Boulanger

CNL is committed to fully engaging with members of the nuclear industry, public, local municipalities, government officials and Indigenous nations, communities and organizations. We recognize the importance of listening to all our valued community members, helping them understand our projects, and acting on their concerns and suggestions. Please get in touch. We are here to support you. You can reach us directly at

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