MONTREAL—Business leaders in the Trois-Rivieres-area say that the equation where a new fertilizer plant is supposed to make up for the loss of the Gentilly-2 nuclear power station just doesn’t add up.

“We have a long way to go to replace those 800 good, well-paying jobs that Gentilly-2 brought us here,” said Patrick Charlebois, speaking for the Trois-Rivieres chamber of commerce.

On Tuesday, the construction of a $1.2-billion nitrogen fertilizer plant was announced to much fanfare in the Centre-du-Quebec region. With construction expected to start in January 2014, the plant would generate 500 construction jobs and employ 200 people long-term. Production of fertilizer would be targeted for 2017.

With the Parti Quebecois government’s decision to close Gentilly-2, local mayors called for more study of a Hydro-Quebec report that claimed that operating the plant—Quebec’s only nuclear power station—was prohibitive.

Interim Liberal leader Jean-Marc Fournier was in Becancour Tuesday where he called for Pauline Marois to head to the region.

“To decide the fate of Gentilly-2 we should have a parliamentary committee, held here in the region, to ask questions about Hydro-Quebec’s report and the diversification of the local economy,” said Fournier. “You have to respect the people of the region.”

The Marois government will spend $5 million on a pre-feasibility study for the fertilizer plant and Quebec is expected to invest in the construction of the facility.

The plant will be operated by the Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative and the Quebec farmers cooperative.

Ontario’s Bruce Power and SNC-Lavalin have expressed interest in buying Gentilly-2.

—with files from The Canadian Press.