French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron could delay plans to reduce the share of nuclear power in France’s generation mix by 2025. Reuters reports that the favourite for the presidency is considering that delay as well as a UK-style subsidy mechanism to build new nuclear reactors. An official spokesman for Macron said the candidate would stick to the policy outlined in his campaign platform, but would relax the deadline., good news for EDF, already struggling with high debt, which otherwise could be forced to close more than a dozen of its 58 reactors. A new subsidy mechanism for new nuclear plants would also allow the utility to build reactors at home in the coming decades.
Power Engineering International 4th May 2017 read more »
[Machine Translation] The Achilles Heel of French Nuclear. During the next quinquennium, 53 of the 58 reactors in the French Atomic Energy Park will exceed forty years of operation. Will they have to be extended beyond the design period, replaced by a new generation or phased out of nuclear power? The edifying story of an essential piece of the security device questions the choices to come. On June 25th, 2015, the elected representatives were astonished by the discovery of the manufacturing defects of the tank already installed in the EPR. Reactor known as “third generation”, under construction in Flamanville (Manche). In 2007 ASN asked the company to carry out tests in order to declare the conformity of these parts to the technical qualification requirement. These took place only in October 2014, on a similar cap originally intended for the American market. And the results released in the spring of 2015 are disastrous: the resilience of the tank is limited to 36 joules and an average of 52 joules, where the regulation imposes a minimum of 60. It is a first-rate damage for a Pharaonic shipyard. For by the autumn of 2017, the “gendarme du nucléaire” must decide on the latest results of the assessment of the tank, provided in November 2016. Areva played with fire, when she had been warned By the ASN as of 2007 of the major industrial risk taking due to the late nature of the technical qualification of the materials. This decision will be all the more crucial for EDF as the public company signed a giant contract with the United Kingdom on September 29, 2016. Two EPRs costing a total of 22 billion euros must be built at Hinkley Point by EDF and EDF China Power Nuclear Power Corporation. The economic risks of the operation linked to the terms of the contract are also of great concern to the trade unions of the public company; They led to the resignation of EDF’s chief financial officer, Thomas Piquemal, in March 2016, and then a member of the board of directors. Whether the safety authority invalidates the receipt of faulty parts or demands reduced operating power, and the entire chain will shake. The real weakness of French nuclear power lies in both the vulnerability of the tanks and the technical arrogance of its developers.
Le Monde Diplomatique 5th May 2017 read more »