Will nuclear power return to Quebec?

Will nuclear power return to Quebec?

With Michel Sabia taking over as head of Hydro-Québec on August 1, the former stalwart of the Caisse depot et placement du Quebec (CDPQ) has opened the door to exploiting nuclear power.

• Read more: “I have an open mind”: Everything is on the table for Hydro-Québec’s new CEO Michel Sabia

As demand for electricity increases in the coming years, Hydro-Québec will need to find new sources of electricity generation.

In an interview with Mario Dumont, Michel Sabia doesn’t rule out the option of nuclear power to offset electricity shortages in some remote areas of Quebec.

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“We have to think about the potential role of nuclear power in Quebec […] If the private sector can do something, why not explore options to work with the private sector,” he said, while ruling out complete privatization of the state-owned company.

Political analyst Yasmin Abdelfadel believes the deals with the private sector will help the state-owned company launch its key energy transition projects.

“We all have to meet the challenges ahead of us in terms of energy transition, meeting demand, and having a good distribution network to use Hydro-Québec as a lever for economic growth,” he notes.

Former Health Minister Gaétan Barrette told Emmanuel Latravers and members of the board of “La Joute” that Michel Sabia was brave enough to speak about the nuclear issue.

A statement that doesn’t surprise him, he admits.

“I’m not surprised, because Michael Sabia is a smart guy, as I’ve said many times in La Jute. At some point, the day of hydroelectricity. [ne sera pas infinie] […] We don’t have rivers that can be dammed to infinity […] According to many experts, nuclear power is the greenest energy after hydro!”

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Due to the risk of serious consequences in the event of a nuclear accident, part of the population does not hide its reluctance to this type of energy.

A possible project in Quebec would have nothing to do with a similar plant in Gentilly, which closed its doors in Beaconcourt in 2012 after the Marois government’s decision.

Experts rely on the development of small nuclear reactors.

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Political analyst Luke Lavoie says the idea of ​​nuclear power has been around since the 1980s.

“In the 1970s, before it came to power, the Parti Québécois was in favor of nuclear power because it was seen as progressive, because it was seen as a left-wing issue,” he said.

“These days, you say ‘nuclear’ and everyone hides under their desk.”

Note that the closure of Gentilly-2 in Bécancour resulted in the loss of 800 jobs in the Centre-du-Québec region.

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