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Image: Virtual Visit
  Geographic location
  The James Bay territory
  Access infrastructures
  The Robert-Bourassa hydroelectric development
  The dam
  The dikes
  The spillway
  The spillway deck
  The reservoir
  The intake and the headrace
  The underground facilities
  The machine hall
  The scrollcase
  The generating units
  The surge chamber
  The tailrace tunnels
  The control room
  Radisson village
  Radisson substation
  The James Bay transmission system

Image : Geographic Location

The municipality of Baie-James is probably the largest municipality in the world, covering 350,000 square kilometres (135,100 square miles) between the 49th and the 55th parallels. That's about one-fifth of the Province of Québec (1,535,843 km2). Some 1,000 km north of Montréal as the crow flies, we find the village of Radisson. It's another 1,000 km to the Inuit village of Ivujivik, the northernmost village in Québec.

Six of the largest rivers in Québec empty into James Bay: south to north, these are the Harricana, Nottaway, Broadback, Rupert, Eastmain and Grande Rivière.

The La Grande complex is named after the Grande Rivière, which runs about 800 km from east to west (mainly along latitude 53º 40' North) before emptying into James Bay.

This is the main tributary of James Bay on the Québec side and the third largest river in Québec. It drains a catchment area of 97,400 km2—more than double the area of Switzerland!

The La Grande complex

The La Grande complex covers 176,000 km2, scarcely 6% of which (9,900 km2) has been flooded to create reservoirs.

In the first phase of construction, between 1973 and 1985, three hydroelectric developments with a total installed capacity of about 10,300 MW were built: La Grande-2, La Grande-3 and La Grande-4. To increase the energy generated by these power plants, two diversions were also built, the Caniapiscau diversion to the northeast and the EOL diversion (Eastmain, Opinaca and Petite Opinaca rivers) to the south. These two diversions made it possible to double the flow of the Grande Rivière at La Grande-2, hence renamed the Robert-Bourassa hydroelectric development.

In the second phase of construction of the La Grande complex, the La Grande-1, La Grande-2-A, Laforge-1, Laforge-2 and Brisay developments were built, adding another 5,000 MW. This phase also includes Eastmain-1 (now under construction), which will add another 480 MW of installed capacity when its three units come on stream in 2008.

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