Impacts of ORSC decision on the Gentilly-2 facility

Since the end of commercial operations at Gentilly-2 in December 2012, several projects and activities have been undertaken in preparation for its decommissioning and eventual dismantling. The Organisation régionale de la sécurité civile (ORSC) de la Mauricie et du Centre-du-Québec mandated experts to evaluate the radiological risks associated with Gentilly-2.

Gentilly-2 facility

Gentilly-2 facility

These reviews and assessments have led to significant modifications to the Gentilly-2 offsite emergency response plan. This plan included protection measures for the surrounding population, which included the pre-distribution of potassium iodide (KI) pills, which could be ingested by members of the public following an unlikely nuclear accident involving offsite releases. The ORSC confirmed that in its current state of safe storage, the Gentilly-2 facility no longer represented a radiological risk for nearby communities and that the Plan des mesures d’urgences nucléaire externe à la centrale nucléaire de Gentilly-2 (PMUNE-G2) could be abolished.

The CNSC wants to remind Canadians that the ORSC decision does not impact the Gentilly-2 onsite emergency response plans, which will continue to be maintained by Hydro-Québec in accordance with CNSC regulatory requirements.

More specifically, the experts mandated by the ORSC have established that any event involving nuclear substances, which could occur within the Gentilly-2 exclusion zone, would not cause any offsite health-related concerns. It is on this basis that the ORSC abandoned the emergency planning zone previously fixed at 8 km and instructed the surrounding Gentilly-2 population to dispose of the stock of pre-distributed KI pills at their local pharmacies or designated municipal facilities.

CNSC staff has reviewed the ORSC decision and do not have any nuclear safety-related concerns. However, CNSC staff did note that the Gentilly-2 reactor shutdown also ended the production of new fission products. As such, the decision on the offsite emergency response plan for Gentilly-2 was prompted by the significant decrease in the level of radiological risk.

CNSC staff continues to conduct the regulatory oversight activities required to confirm nuclear safety is maintained at the Gentilly-2 facility. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the CNSC.