The life of EDF’s nuclear reactors extended by 20 years? Why is it complicated

Nuclear plant

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EDF would like to be able to increase the lifespan of its nuclear power plants by 20 years. It is not impossible, but it will be necessary to be careful, according to the ASN.

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) is not fundamentally against this extension, which has already been decided in the United States. On the other hand, she wishes to allow herself time to analyze the question while pointing out the need to take into account certain new parameters.

ASN does not want to give in to political pressure

How to ensure the supply of electricity to the French in the long term, when in 20 years, nearly half of the country’s nuclear reactors (25 out of 56) will have reached or exceeded the 60-year mark? And when the fear of power cuts has taken hold? For EDF, there is a solution: to extend the life of power plants by 20 years, up to 80 years, therefore. An idea that the company wants to explore without taboo “, in the words of its executive director Cédric Lewandowski.

The ASN would not be against it, but it has reservations. For her, political imperatives must not pollute this reflection. ” The continued operation of nuclear reactors should not be the adjustment variable of a public policy that has been poorly calibrated “Explained President Bernard Doroszczuk.

New things to consider

The latter does not want a study ” table corner », « but a very in-depth work, consisting in analyzing the behavior of non-replaceable parts and others that are difficult to replace “. Among the problematic parts, we find in particular the reactor vessel and the containment building, ” which cannot be replaced “, according to Bernard Doroszczuk. Will they be able to hold if the lifespan of the power stations were extended to 80 years?

The head of the ASN also points to the obligation to deal with future climate change. ” Recent climatic events will no longer be exceptional […]. Nuclear is part of the long term. We must therefore examine on this time scale the consequences of global warming on the operation of power plants. “, he pleads. Because what repercussions will the drop in river levels or the increase in wind and temperatures have on the activity of the power stations? This is what the ASN wants to know.

Source : Le Figaro

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