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France’s oldest nuclear reactors allowed to operate for another decade

France’s oldest nuclear reactors allowed to operate for another decade by:Amanda Morrow 

France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has approved extending the lifetime of the country’s oldest nuclear reactors for a further 10 years.  Electricity operator EDF will be in charge of improving the safety of the 900 MWe plants, which were intended to run for 40 years but will now run for 50.

The reactors in question are the oldest of the French fleet, having been commissioned in the early 1980s. 

Approval for their continued service comes with several conditions, including that improvements be made to ensure that radioactivity remains confined in the event of an accident.

A first objective is to limit the impact of accidents, including serious ones such as a meltdown of the reactor core,” said ASN’s deputy director general Julien Collet.

Other concerns included protecting the plants against earthquakes, floods and extreme heat, as well as internal fire hazards. 

The reactors in question are Bugey (Ain), Blayais (Gironde), Chinon (Indre-et-Loire), Cruas (Ardèche), Dampierre (Loiret), Gravelines (Nord), Saint-Laurent (Loir-et-Cher) and Tricastin (Drôme). 

Staunch opposition

Following calls from environmental campaigners to shut down ageing nuclear reactors, France’s oldest plant, Fessenheim, was switched off last year.

However the evacuation of its combustible waste will continue until the summer of 2023, while the demolition of the site lay not be complete until 2040.

France derives nearly 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, a world record. It’s hoping to reduce this figure to 50 percent by 2035 to make more room for renewable energy.


August 21, 2021 - Posted by | France, politics

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