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Some consternation in France, as EDF plans to split off its nuclear section

Le Monde 15th April 2019 For several weeks, EDF’s management and the executive have been
preparing a plan to separate nuclear activities from the rest of the group.
A high-risk issue for the government.

Le Monde 15th April 2019 The CGT secretary of the EDF works council, François Dos Santos, protested against the government’s desire to divide the group into two separate


April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Electricite de France (EDF) €33 billion debt, and more problems – its nuclear section to be nationalised.

Times 16th April 2019 A row erupted in France yesterday after it emerged that EDF’s board will discuss plans to renationalise the group’s nuclear activities and split them from the rest of its business. Unions reacted with anger to what they depicted as the first step towards the dismantling of the energy group that is building Britain’s new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

The board is due to review the restructuring plan next month before presenting it to senior managers and union representatives in June, according to a source. The scheme involves the creation of a parent company to run the group’s 58 reactors in France, as well as new ones that it may build.

This part of the group could be renationalised, rolling back the partial privatisation of EDF in 2004, which left the state with an 83.7 per cent stake. Most of the rest of the group’s activities then would be placed in a subsidiary that would continue to seek private investors under the plan, which has been codenamed Project Hercules, according to the newspaper Le Parisien.

People close to President Macron, who has the final say, claim that he broadly supports the idea, but may backtrack if the price of compensating shareholders proves to be beyond the means of France’s hard-pressed state budget. A fierce union reaction also could prompt him to retreat,
commentators said.

Although a source insisted that the restructuring would have no direct impact on Hinkley Point, it is likely to create short-term uncertainty for EDF Energy, the group’s British division.

EDF is struggling to meet the cost of renovating its ageing French nuclear fleet, which is estimated at between €55 billion and €75 billion. In addition, the group, which has a debt of €33 billion, is facing several other difficulties, not least that it is committed to funding two thirds of the estimated £22.3 billion cost of the new-generation European pressurised reactors being built at Hinkley Point.

A similar reactor at Flamanville in northern France was meant to cost €3 billion and come on stream in 2012. The reactor is still not operating and the budget has reached €10.9 billion. Last week, it emerged that experts had advised that EDF should repair faulty weldings at Flamanville, which would add hundreds of millions of euros to the bill and lead to a further delay.

April 18, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

EDF’s Belleville nuclear power plant to continue to have increased monitoring by France’s nuclear regulator

France’s ASN regulator keeps enhanced monitoring of EDF’s Belleville nuclear power plant,  PARIS, April 17 (Reuters) – France’s ASN nuclear regulator said on Wednesday it was maintaining its close supervision of utility EDF’s 2,600 MW Belleville nuclear power plant, due to the need to continue to monitor safety practices despite some improvements.

The regulator placed the plant under enhanced supervision in September 2017, citing failures in safety standards.

It noted that the state of the plant’s installations and safety practices had generally improved in 2018, but there was still work to do.

“However… the progress noted remains to be consolidated and that the performance of the facilities must still improve,” the ASN said in a statement.

The ASN also said it will carry out additional inspections and checks to documentation, while keeping track of EDF’s action plan to fix the issues. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

April 18, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

The Flamanville EPR risks a new delay , catastrophic for EDF

Liberation 11th April 2019 The Flamanville EPR risks a new catastrophic delay for EDF. The group ofexperts of the Nuclear Safety Authority considers that the electrician must
“repair” eight large defective welds on the Flamanville reactor. The work
could last until 2022 at the risk of ruining the reputation of the EPR,
which is already years behind schedule.

April 13, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

It’s likely that Flamanville nuclear reactor will be delayed yet again, with discussion on how to fix faulty welds

ICIS 5th April 2019 The commissioning of France’s long-overdue 1.65GW Flamanville 3 nuclear project could face further delays, according to industry stakeholders. A group of experts from French nuclear authority ASN, nuclear safety institute IRSN and utility EDF are set to meet on 9 April to discuss what to do about the welds of the plant’s EPR reactor, IRSN’s director Jean Cristophe-Niel said at a conference in Paris on Thursday.

At the meeting ASN could communicate to EDF whether it would want the welds to be entirely rebuilt or just repaired. If ASN does order the welds to be rebuilt this could significantly delay the commissioning of the plant which was previously set for winter 2019-2020.

The project has already faced delays spanning seven years. ASN will have to communicate its final decision on
Flamanville’s welds in May. The director of energy think-tank WISE-paris Yves Marignac also said at the conference that it was possible Flamanville 3 would be delayed further with no clear timeframe in sight. A number of
traders present at the conference said they were not surprised by this possibility given the project’s track record.

April 8, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

France’s ‘public consultation’ on old nuclear reactors – full of bureaucratic jargon – no debate took place

April 4, 2019 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

French Nuclear test victim ordered to repay compensation

Nuclear test victim ordered to repay compensation,  A victim of the French nuclear tests in the South Pacific has been ordered to repay more than $US60,000 paid out in compensation to her.Florence Bourel is a former secretary of the Atomic Energy Commission, who was sent to the weapons test site at Moruroa over a 12-year period.

She developed thyroid cancer which in 2002 was recognised as a work-related condition.

The test veterans organisation in France reports that in 2008, a court ordered for her to be compensated but the health insurance successfully appealed the decision.

A reassessment placed her condition below the disability level eligible for compensation, which she says implies that nothing had ever happened to her.

She says out of her pension she has to repay $60,000 and there is no recourse.

She also says her daughters have also been affected and one of her grand-daughters had an operation for a radiation-induced disease.

March 25, 2019 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

Earthquake in France, not that far away from nuclear reactors

IRSN 22nd March 2019 On Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at 10:56 local time, an earthquake of moderate magnitude (between 4.7 and 5.0 on the Richter scale) occurred in Montendre (Charente-Maritime). This earthquake was followed at 11:30 of a magnitude replica of 2.8.

The closest nuclear installation to the earthquake is the Blayais nuclear power generation center, located 27 km
from the epicenter. The Civaux and Golfech power plants are located respectively at 145 and 169 km from the epicenter. The Seismic Risk Assessment Office for Facility Safety (BERSSIN) of IRSN has prepared a briefing note on the characteristics of this earthquake.

March 25, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Orano (makeover of bankrupt AREVA ) not getting anywhere in selling nuclear reprocessing plant to China

Les Echos 23rd March 2019 Another place, another atmosphere. Xi Jinping’s visit to France is not expected to lead to any major breakthrough on Orano’s long-awaited contract to build a used nuclear fuel processing and recycling plant in China.

Fifteen months after Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Beijing during which the French industrialist and his partner CNNC had concluded a new memorandum of understanding , Orano (the former Areva refocused on the fuel cycle) is still far from to have won the bet. At the time, Orano and CNNC had given themselves until the end of 2018 to formally agree on this mega contract of more than 10 billion dollars.


March 25, 2019 Posted by | China, France, marketing | Leave a comment

Bay of Biscay graveyard of nuclear-armed Russian submarine

CTY Pisces – Photos of a Japanese midget submarine that was sunk off Pearl Harbor on the day of the attack. There’s a hole at the base of the conning tower where an artillery shell penetrated the hull, sinking the sub and killing the crew. Photos courtesy of Terry Kerby, Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory. August 2003.

15,000 Feet Below the Waves Lurks Trouble: This Dead Russian Submarine Is Nuclear Armed    “Unfortunately, the loss of power onboard and the difficult weather conditions were too much for the crew to overcome. On April 12, K-8 sank with some forty crew members aboard, coming to rest at a rough depth of 15,000 feet. The depth made any effort at recovering the submarine, and the nuclear torpedoes, impractical.”   National Interest,   by Robert Farley, 10 Mar 19

n April 8, K-8 suffered two fires, resulting in a shutdown of both nuclear reactors. The boat surfaced, and Captain Vsevolod Borisovich Bessonov ordered the crew to abandon ship. Eight crew members, trapped in compartments that were either flooded or burned out, died in the initial incident. Fortunately, a Soviet repair vessel arrived, and took K-8 under tow. However, bad weather made the recover operation a difficult prospect. Much of K-8’s crew reboarded the submarine, and for three days fought a life-and-death struggle to save the boat. Although details remain scarce, there apparently was no opportunity to safely remove the four nuclear torpedoes from K-8, and transfer them to the repair ship.

The Bay of Biscay is one of the world’s great submarine graveyards. In late World War II, British and American aircraft sank nearly seventy German U-boats in the Bay, which joined a handful of Allied and German subs sunk in the region during World War I. On April 12, 1970, a Soviet submarine found the same resting place. Unlike the others, however, K-8 was propelled by two nuclear reactors, and carried four torpedoes tipped by nuclear warheads………

March 10, 2019 Posted by | France, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France facing the burden of nuclear waste

Le Monde 8th March 2019 France facing the burden of nuclear waste. In the Aube, two storage centers
receive 90% of the radioactive residues produced each year in France. One
approach to saturation, and for some waste there is still no solution.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | France, wastes | Leave a comment

In France, nuclear industry manages to cancel a film showing, about Fukushima nuclear disaster

France TV Info 6th March 2019 A film about the Fukushima disaster censored in a commune that houses a
nuclear power plant. The Nuclear Exit Association planned a projection
eight years after the Fukushima accident in Japan. But the event was
canceled after the nearby nuclear plant contacted the town hall.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | civil liberties, France | 1 Comment

Many infringements found in Orano’s (formerly Areva) uclear site at Tricastin, France

Sortir du Nucleaire 5th March 2019 , As part of ASN’s duties concerning the control of basic nuclear
installations (BNIs), an unannounced inspection was carried out on 6 March
2018 on the W and TU5 installations (BNI No. 155), operated by Orano Cycle
on the nuclear site Tricastin, on the theme “waste management”. As this
inspection revealed numerous infringements, the “Quit Nuclear” Network
filed a direct summons against Orano.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

New defects, after a series of problems and delays, in France’s supposed “nuclear flagship” Flamanville

France Info 1st March 2019  Machine Translation] Cracks, failed welds … How the site of the EPR Flamanville has turned into a fiasco to nearly 11 billion euros.

The third generation nuclear reactor, which was to take office in 2012, will finally be operational only in 2020 after the discovery of new defects. Back on those days when the yard slipped. It was to be the flagship of the French nuclear industry, the EPR of Flamanville (Manche) is today its ball.

The construction site of the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) experienced numerous delays, the last of which occurred on July 25, 2018, after the discovery of poorly made welds. Originally scheduled for 2012, its entry into service is (for the moment) postponed to 2020. And nothing says that the yard will be spared by new counter-time. The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) thus pinned EDF on Wednesday (February 27th) for a lack of “traceability” of certain equipment qualification operations on the EPR. 

March 4, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics, safety | Leave a comment

Huge workforce at Flamanville nuclear reactor, employed to fix unsafe welds

**Flamanville*  Tendance Ouest 1st March 2019 EDF announced that “500 people will intervene to take over twenty welds” non-compliant on the site of the nuclear reactor. A team that will add to
the current workforce of the site, already 3800 people. The operation
should take place in the fall, “after our hot tests , ” said Bertrand
Michoud, director of facilities at the EPR Flamanville.

March 4, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment