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MONTREAL - More than 250 Quebec municipalities and regional municipal governments have banded together to demand the province shut the door once and for all on nuclear energy - by mothballing Hydro-Quebec's Gentilly-2 nuclear reactor instead of rebuilding it.


Copies of a resolution thus far adopted by 255 municipal bodies were presented to three opposition members of the Quebec National Assembly Friday by Mayor Gaëtan Ruest of Amqui, who has been spearheading a campaign launched in spring 2009.


The thick stack of identically worded resolutions will be tabled in the full legislature "at the right moment," to be chosen by Parti Québécois MNAs Scott McKay and Martine Ouellet and Amir Khadir of Solidarité Québec after the assembly reconvenes Sept. 21, Ruest said. All three MNAs endorsed the effort.


"There are another 1,250 municipalities to go," Ruest told reporters at a news conference held in conjunction with a full-day forum of Quebec environmental activists focussed on two themes. They covered the anti-nuclear initiative in the morning and - during an intensive afternoon session that drew an audience in excess of 180 - emerging issues and vigorous developintg opposition to controversial plans to conduct shale-gas exploration and production in many parts of the province.


A four-day meeting beginning on the weekend in Montreal of the World Energy Congress - an international event held every three years by energy companies, oil and gas industry groups, governments and universities - is expected to draw about 3,500 participants.


The forum's afternoon session at times took on the tone of a pep rally, amid repeated exhortations to draw a large number of demonstrators to a protest rally scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the Palais des congrès downtown, the opening day at the focal point of the international event.


"Don't want their dirty energy? Neither do we!" declared a flyer inviting participation, carrying among many group names that included a Quebec citizen coalition actively opposing shale-gas activities, Nature Quebec, Greenpeace and a range of other environmental groups.


Public-opinion polls show almost two-thirds of Quebecers are opposed to a plan by Hydro-Québec to rebuild Gentilly-2, said Michel Duguay, a nuclear physicist at l'Université Laval who coordinates the Mouvement Sortir le Québec du Nucléaire. The umbrella group that speaks to the issue on behalf of some 85 environmental groups.


Ontario is backing off nuclear power generation of the Canadian-developed CANDU variety, Duguay said, adding that Quebec has a golden opportunity to follow that example.


Hydro has said the Gentilly-2 rebuild in Becancoeur, near Trois-Rivières, will cost $1.9 billion, although Duguay said that with waste-management costs included, "the real price will be in the $8 billion range."


Hydro had originally planned to begin the rebuild next March - although that target date has apparently been delayed until March 2012.


The utility has not yet obtained regulatory approval, Duguay said.


More details to come


(Courtesy of © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette)

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Nuclear power is safe, clean and has an arguably lesser environmental impact than hydroelectric dams.


What argument? Impact of Gentilly is essentially zero except for maybe some heat pollution in the water which doesn't seem to be of any importance in that case (if it was, well just make a "the Simpsons" type cooling tower and dump the waste heat to the atmosphere instead)


Hydro dams have had huge environmental impacts in Quebec particularly submerged trees leaching mercury into the water (why not clear-cut the forest first??!!)


Now I like hydro power and I think for Quebec reality it is the most well-suited. But if Gentilly is making power at a good price then keep developing it and maintaining the operation. Keep in mind it would cost much more to stop running it than to keep it going...


Only idiots tend to rail against nuclear power because they have no understanding of the technology and say things like Tchernobyl... except they forgot that Chernobyl was a Soviet RBMK design and was operated by a stupid system of government that all the way to the top paid zero attention to environment and most importantly, humans. The same kind of "catastrophic meltdown" had happened 15 years earlier in the USA at Three Mile Island. How many people died there? None... and not even a big jump in cancer rates in the region even today. And now, nobody makes meltdown because we know WTF we are doing!


IMO the only true "non-renewable" energy is uranium-235... every minute there is less on Earth... might as well use it all up while we can ;) And with fission you can keep going and going recycling the product a la France, even breed plutonium and get lots of power! (but "proliferation" always ends up a big sticking point in such discussions... pansies :D)

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