France’s state-controlled EDF power utility needs to show a new generation nuclear reactors work well, which is not for now the case, new environment minister Francois de Rugy said in remarks published on Monday. De Rugy signaled that any decision on whether to build more plants using the European pressurized reactor (EPR) design would be based on economic factors. The French government is expected to outline in late October a plan to cut the share of nuclear energy in its electricity production to 50 percent from the current 75 percent, the highest level in the world. It has already said it could take a decade more to get there than an initial target of 2025.
Reuters 10th Sept 2018 read more »
France’s new environment minister has said that EDF must prove the viability of its next generation nuclear reactor before the question of new plants can be considered and re-raised the prospect of a change in the structure of the state-controlled energy giant. “EDF should demonstrate that the EPR [European Pressurised Reactor, a next generation nuclear reactor] works, which is not the case yet. Nobody is able to guarantee a date for its connection to the grid. It also has to demonstrate that the EPR is competitive in terms of costs,” François de Rugy told French daily Le Monde. However, Mr de Rugy, who is seen as more pragmatic than his predecessor, added that “we must get out of the religious war about nuclear energy” and “the important thing is to know the economic data in the nuclear field and in the field of renewable energies.” The comments come as Mr de Rugy takes the reins of France’s environmental policy. Earlier this summer Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF’s chief executive, told French lawmakers that future French EPRs built in a series, as opposed to the one-off prototype at Flamanville, could produce electricity at a cost of €60-€70 per megawatt p er hour. That would be comparable with the £57.50/MWh price in the latest UK offshore wind contracts, and at least a third cheaper than the £92.50/MWh (€105), which the UK government has promised EDF for electricity from the delayed and politically controversial Hinkley Point project. While an EPR in China has now been connected to the grid, the company’s flagship Flamanville plant in France, seen as a crucial marker for the technology, is seven years late and €7bn over budget. In July, EDF said the loading of nuclear fuel at Flammanville “is now scheduled for the fourth quarter in 2019 and the target construction costs have been revised from €10.5bn to €10.9bn.”
FT 10th Sept 2018 read more »
France’s nuclear electricity production fell 4.5 percent year-on-year in August due to a higher volume of unplanned outages, French state-controlled utility EDF said on Monday. EDF, which operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors that account for around 75 percent of the country’s power needs, said output rose 6.4 percent in July compared with the same month a year ago. EDF’s nuclear electricity generation was at 259.9 terawatt hours (TWh) in the eight months to end-August, up 2.3 percent compared with the same period a year ago. EDF expects nuclear output of at least 395 TWh in 2018, after it fell to 379 TWh in 2017.
Euronews 10th Sept 2018 read more »
French nuclear group Orano on Monday inaugurated a 1.15 billion euro (1.02 billion pounds)uranium conversion plant despite huge global overcapacity for nuclear reactor fuel. State-owned Orano’s new plant in Tricastin, southern France, will account for a quarter of the world’s 60,000-tonne annual uranium hexafluoride (UF6) production capacity when it fully ramps up in 2021 and is set to have the industry’s lowest costs, the company said. UF6, produced by combining “yellowcake” uranium ore concentrate with fluorine, is a precursor of enriched uranium, which fuels the world’s nuclear plants. Following the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, uranium prices are near decade lows as several countries reduced their reliance on nuclear energy.
Reuters 11th Sept 2018 read more »