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Fitzgibbon believes that Quebec will “one day” need nuclear power

Photo: Frank Gunn La Presse canadienne Pierre Fitzgibbon a récemment visité la centrale nucléaire de Darlington, en Ontario.

Quebec will “one day” have to use nuclear power to achieve its decarbonization objectives by 2050, declared Thursday the Minister of the Economy and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon.

The politician foresees that the issue will be addressed within 18 months, when the government will evaluate the resources at its disposal to reduce greenhouse gases.

“Nuclear power will become essential in the world to decarbonize, to have low-carbon energy. In Quebec, we are not there because we have never explained why nuclear power could fit into our energy resources,” he declared to Devoir, on the sidelines of the study of the budgetary appropriations of his ministry.

The Minister recently visited the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario, a facility operated by Ontario Power Generation.

“They have four CANDU reactors, they are going to build four small modular reactors and there is a park in the back where the children go there with their families on the weekends,” he said. Ontarians have understood that there is no security issue with nuclear power. »

One day

Mr. Fitzgibbon knows that Quebec public opinion still fears the safety risks in the exploitation of nuclear energy. He gives the example of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, which preceded the decision of the Quebec government to close the Gentilly-2 nuclear power plant in Quebec.

Personally, Mr. Fitzgibbon considers that nuclear energy will be essential to accomplish Quebec's energy transition. “I think we’ll have to use it sometime,” he said.

According to the minister, limits could soon appear on means such as hydroelectricity, wind, solar and renewable natural gas to achieve the 2050 targets.

“In a year, a year and a half, we will perhaps realize that building ten dams to have renewable energy will not be realistic, that perhaps only wind turbines , there won't be any in my backyard in Terrebonne, maybe solar, there won't be enough here. Maybe there won't be enough residue to make renewable natural gas. Consequently, there will be a lack of clean energy to decarbonize,” he explained.

Mr. Fitzgibbon is aware that at this time, proof remains to be made that nuclear power could be used in Quebec.

“Will Quebec want to get involved in this ? Today, the answer is no because we still have the prospect that we have enough water, wind, not to go nuclear », he admitted.


Mr. Fitzgibbon will introduce a much-anticipated energy sector bill by June, which will provide for the design of an integrated resource management plan. The role of the minister will then be to spark a debate where the experts will come and express themselves.

“We must educate the population, we must explain to the population why the Americans, why Ontario is going nuclear and that it is healthy for the community,” he said. In Quebec, we did not have this debate because we did not need to have it. With water and electricity, we had surpluses. »

Mr. Fitzgibbon believes that the government has not, until now, “well explained what role nuclear power could play in Quebec.”

The management of nuclear residues, however, constitutes a significant challenge, underlines the minister, who observed five storage containers in Darlington where waste from the last quarter of a century is stored.

“You say oops! There’s uranium in there, he said. I myself would not be able to convince you that it would not be dangerous. There is work to be done. »

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116