The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

France’s costly and unsatisfactory efforts at dismantling nuclear reactors

Romandie 12th Jan 2018 [Machine Translation] Dismantling: in France, nuclear country, the task remains immense. EDF may well show international ambitions in terms of nuclear dismantling, the industry still has to prove itself in France, the world’s second largest producer of nuclear electricity, where the task remains immense and the delays numerous.

“We dismantle nine reactors in France We consider that our know-how can put us in a very good position to win real market share internationally,” assured AFP on Wednesday Sylvain Granger director of deconstruction projects at EDF. An ambition
“staggering” for Barbara Romagnan, former PS MP, author of a parliamentary report that highlighted in early 2017 the “underrated” costs and growing delays of these projects.

“None of these French reactors has yet been totally dismantled, even though they were closed between 1985 and 1997,”
she argues. Elsewhere in the world, seventeen reactor vessels (more than 100 MW) have been dismantled in the United States, Germany and Spain, according to the Institute for Radiation Protection and Safety (IRSN).

In Chooz, EDF’s most advanced site, located in the Ardennes, the dismantling of the tank, the ultimate and most delicate stage, began in 2017. But the cutting of the internal components of the tank was suspended after the contamination. in June, a Swedish employee from Westinghouse, to whom EDF subcontracted this operation, according to the French company. EDF
estimates at 79 billion euros the cost of dismantling all its reactors in France (including 18.5 billion spent fuel management), said Thursday the company that spoke in 2000 of 16 billion euros.


January 15, 2018 Posted by | decommission reactor, France | 1 Comment

China unlikely to go ahead with AREVA’s nuclear reprocessing plan, despite Macron’s support

Reuters 11th Jan 2018, So close yet so far: China deal elusive for France’s Areva. A deal long
sought by French company Areva to build a $12-billion nuclear waste
reprocessing plant in China looks increasingly unlikely to go ahead despite
a visit to Beijing by President Emmanuel Macron meant to drum up business.

During Macron’s state visit this week, Areva and China National Nuclear
Corp (CNNC) signed a new “protocol agreement” to build the plant but,
not for the first time, no definitive contract was signed.

Since talks began more than a decade ago – when uranium prices UXXc1 were near record
highs – a series of non-committal French-Chinese memorandums of
understanding have been signed for building a reprocessing plant in China
modeled on state-owned Areva’s plant in La Hague, northern France.

The reprocessing of nuclear fuel waste involves separating plutonium from the
spent uranium and reusing it in “Mixed Oxide” (MOX) fuel at nuclear
power stations.

But the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and competition
from renewable energy are weighing on the nuclear sector, and uranium
prices are down 80 percent from a decade ago, making the expensive and
dangerous recycling process less attractive. Chinese nuclear scientist Li
Ning, dean of Xiamen University’s College of Energy and a member of State
Nuclear Power Technology Corporation’s (SNPTC) expert committee, sees
“a fairly low probability” that China will sign a formal contract for
the project.

January 13, 2018 Posted by | China, France, marketing, politics international, reprocessing | Leave a comment

The troubled and exorbitantly expensive history of the EPR nuclear reactor.

Romandie 9th Jan 2018, [Machine translation] The EPR, the flagship of the French nuclear industry
with many setbacks. Paris – The EPR, to be launched for the first time in China in about six months, is a third-generation nuclear reactor designed to offer improved power and safety, but whose yards have accumulated setbacks in France and elsewhere. Finland.

Launched in 1992, this technology, touted as the flagship of the French nuclear industry, was co-developed by the French company Areva and German Siemens, within their joint venture Areva NP, which Siemens has since withdrawn. EDF has just taken control of this activity as part of the reorganization of the French nuclear industry orchestrated by the State.

The first project was launched in Olkiluoto (Finland) in 2005, on behalf of the TVO electrician, with Areva and Siemens directly prime contractors. But the setbacks and budget slippages have accumulated. TVO lamented an umpteenth delay in the commissioning of the EPR in October, which is now scheduled for May 2019. It was initially scheduled for 2009.

There is a dispute between TVO and Areva and Siemens, with each party blaming the delays on the other.
claiming billions in compensation. The case is under arbitration.

The second EPR, which has been under construction since 2007 in Flamanville (western France) has also accumulated setbacks, mainly due to anomalies discovered on the composition of the steel cover and bottom of the tank. The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) requires that the tank cover be replaced before the end of 2024. EDF, prime contractor, has postponed the commissioning of the reactor several times. The electrician plans to start the Flamanville EPR at the end of 2018, for commercial commissioning in
2019, when the initial schedule was for 2012.

Its cost has meanwhile more than tripled to 10.5 billion euros. Two other EPRs are under construction in Taishan (China), with a joint venture owned 51% by the Chinese state power company CGN, 30% by EDF and, since 2012, 19% by the electrical utility of
Guangdong province.

January 12, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Finland, France | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear company AREVA to join China National Nuclear Corp in nuclear reprocessing

Areva to sign 10 bln euros China nuclear re-processing MoU -source, Reuters Staff, 

PARIS, Jan 9 (Reuters) – French power group Areva is set to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for a Chinese nuclear re-processing deal worth about 10 billion euros ($11.9 billion), a source with knowledge of the matter said.

The deal with the China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) was expected to be signed on Tuesday, during a state visit to China by French President Emmanuel Macron.

$1 = 0.8375 euros Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Leigh Thomas and Jean-Michel Belot

January 11, 2018 Posted by | China, France, marketing | Leave a comment

France phasing out nuclear power at home: happy to export it abroad

China, France sign deal to enhance cooperation on nuclear energy Xinhua | 2018-01-10 07:17 GUANGZHOU — A Chinese nuclear power operator signed an agreement Tuesday with a French energy organization to deepen cooperation on nuclear power technology.

The deal, between China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and the French Alternative Energy and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), focuses on areas such as nuclear reactor technology, advanced fuels and materials, and nuclear fuel cycles.

Under the agreement, CGN and CEA will deepen cooperation in the upstream and downstream nuclear power industry chain, including reactor life management and the concept design of the fourth-generation nuclear energy technology.

He Yu, chairman of CGN, said the new agreement will enhance bilateral exchanges in nuclear power technology and open new space for Sino-French nuclear power cooperation.

Founded in 1994, CGN is the largest nuclear power operator in China, with 39,000 employees worldwide. It focuses on the development of clean energies such as nuclear power, nuclear fuel, wind power and solar power.

The CEA is a key organization in research, development and innovation in France. Its main areas include defense and security, nuclear and renewable energy, and physical and life sciences.

January 9, 2018 Posted by | China, France, marketing | Leave a comment

France’s President Emmanuel Macron to save France’s nuclear export industry?

Final negotiations for Areva reprocessing plant in China, Les Echos, Frédéric Schaeffer, Correspondant à Pékin, 26 Dec 17Areva’s president was in Beijing on Thursday. Paris hopes to sign an agreement during Emmanuel Macron’s visit to China in early January. The contract would be around ten billion euros for Areva……

“There have been  comprehensive  discussions with many Chinese officials  in France and French in Planned over 10 years.  This project could be agreed upon  during the visit of Emmanuel Macron early January in the Middle Kingdom. “We are accelerating the final negotiations in view of the President’s  visit” ….”the visit of Emmanuel Macron will mark a key stage” – French nuclear officials

…. The stakes are crucial for New Areva, the agency resulting from the restructuring of the French nuclear industry and now refocused on the fuel cycle. This could be the key – with  a contract of ten billion euros. …. CNNC originally chose the coastal city of Lianyungang to locate the plant. But that announcement had sparked violent protests last year, forcing a halt to preliminary work. Since then, CNNC and the government have examined several coastal sites but have been careful not to make their choice known.

December 27, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, China, France, politics | 2 Comments

France to study effects of nuclear testing on 21,000 nuclear test veterans

Ed. note. Incidentally, this is the period during which Professor Ernest Titterton managed to cancel testing of of radioactive fallout to the East coast of Australia

France to study nuclear test veterans, Reports from French Polynesia say the French government will launch an epidemiological study of 21,000 nuclear test veterans. According to Radio1 in Tahiti, the defence ministry will test all those whose exposure to radiation was measured between 1966 and 1996 – the period during which France tested 193 atomic bombs.

The study is to update the findings of two previous studies into mortality and morbidity.

The first found that by the end of 2008 more than 5,500 had died.

The study of the remaining 21,000 veterans is to help improve assessing their health care risks.

December 27, 2017 Posted by | France, health, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Survey finds strong support in France for renewable energy, not nuclear

French people support energy transition, survey reveals, Energy Transition by Energiewende Team19 Dec 2017“……… It is often said that the French people strongly support nuclear energy as a jewel of the French industry. However, a survey commissioned by the French office of the Heinrich Boell Foundation and the French Think tank La Fabrique écologique, carried out by the research institute Harris Interactive, shows that the French people would rather like to pull up the anchor and set sail for a new model based on renewable energy.

Indeed, 91 % of interviewees consider the energy transition as “priority issue” (47%) or a “major issue” (44%). 63% see the energy transition as an opportunity rather than as a threat (11 %). But what should energy transition look like, according to them?

A clear preference for the development of renewable energy

The trend is very clear: 83 % of French people think France should prioritize investments in renewable energy. Only 12% of the interviewees prefer that investments go towards the modernization and life extension of nuclear power plants. 66 % of respondents come out against the construction of new nuclear power plants. It shows that the advertising and constantly repeated arguments that nuclear energy – often described as “clean energy” – is the only adequate solution when it comes to fighting climate change is not having the intended effect on French public opinion.

Also surprising is the fact that the actor in which the French people have the most confidence to lead the energy transition is neither the state (trusted by 49% of the interviewees) nor the energy producers and providers like the state owned EDF (trusted by only 46%). Rather, people trust citizen energy cooperatives (trusted by 78%), as well as NGOs and associations (trusted by 66 %).

A positive view of the Energiewende

Another salient point of the survey is the opinion of the French people about the German energy transition. Respondents perceived the German Energiewende much more positively than their economic and political elites……..

Over half of them see the Energiewende as “a good example for the energy transition.” Last but not least, the French people think France should work more closely with Europe (54%) and with Germany (51%) on energy issues……

The complete results of the survey (in French) are available here: Enquête “Le rapport des Francais à l’énergie” – Harris Interactive

In the press :

December 22, 2017 Posted by | France, public opinion, renewable | Leave a comment

EDF keen to market nuclear to Asia, demands tax-payer support to build new nuclear reactors

MEDIA-EDF says no new nuclear reactors in France without state support-Ouest France, Reporting by Geert de Clercq, Editing Dominique Vidalon,Reuters Staff, 15 Dec 17,      

** French state-controlled utility EDF’s CEO Jean-Bernard Levy tells Ouest France daily that EDF can no longer build new nuclear reactors in France without state support.

Asked when EDF could build new reactors at home, Levy says “Henceforth, we cannot build new reactors without adequate regulation providing guaranteed income”. He said that Flamanville was launched at a time of high power prices and that now all power sources, nuclear as well as renewable, need to get the same visibility on sales prices.

** For its project to build two EPRs in Hinkley Point, Britain, EDF has obtained an EU-approved state-guaranteed price of 92.5 pounds per megawatt-hour over 35 years, which is way above current market prices.

** The centrist government of French President Emmanuel Macron is not talking about building new nuclear reactors, but about closing old reactors in order to reduce the share of nuclear energy in French power generation to 50 percent by around 2035 from 75 percent today.

** Asked when the first Areva-designed EPR reactor could start up, Levy said ”that should be in a few weeks in China. The start-up will be gradual, to make sure everything works well.

** Levy said EDF expects to get approval to charge nuclear fuel in its Flamanville reactor at the end of 2018. He said that once operational, Flamanville will be a good showcase to sell nuclear reactors in Asia.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

The battle against climate change is being lost – Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron says the world is losing the battle against climate change , ABCThe World Today By Connie Agius  13 Dec 17French President Emmanuel Macron has told fellow world leaders that the battle against climate change is being lost.

Key points:

  • Macron says 2015 Paris climate accord is in a fragile state since Trump pulled out in June
  • Summit marks two years since accord was signed in Paris
  • A dozen international projects were announced at the summit

Speaking at the One Planet Summit in Paris, Mr Macron said the 2015 Paris climate accord was in a fragile state after President Donald Trump pulled the US out in June.

“We’re not going fast enough, there lies the tragedy,” Mr Macron said.

“We’ve committed to limiting the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and if we carry on along this path, we’re heading towards 3 or 3.5.

“When I say that we’re losing the battle, I would like you to realise that of the countries represented here, 5, 10 or 15 of them won’t exist anymore in 50, 60 or 100 years.

“It’s as simple as that.”

Mr Macron emphasised that the need for action was now.

“The urgency is permanent and our generation’s challenge is to act, act faster and win this battle against time, and to put in place concrete measures that will change our countries, our societies, our economies.

“So that our children and maybe even ourselves can choose our future and not suffer through global warming.”…….

December 16, 2017 Posted by | climate change, France | Leave a comment

France faces a decade-long struggle to upgrade its nuclear power plants

Bloomberg 13th Dec 2017, France faces a decade-long struggle to upgrade its nuclear power plants, but for Natacha Piot, whose firm makes metal pipe supports for reactors, there’s little visibility beyond Christmas. She’s chief executive
officer of one of the dozens of subcontractors engaged in a 48 billion-euro ($56.4 billion) project to extend the life of Electricite de France SA’s aging atomic plants.

Like several of her peers, Piot is critical of how the state-run utility is managing the process. “I can’t afford to hire
because we don’t know what we’ll have to do in a month,” said Piot, CEO of CITA Production, based near the Saone River, north of the vineyards of Burgundy. “We’re overloaded until Christmas, but it’s a total haze for 2018. We’re in a permanent fog.”

EDF has cut earnings forecasts as longer-than-planned maintenance and refueling halts at its 58 reactors were
compounded by safety checks demanded by the nation’s nuclear watchdog. That means the utility expects nuclear-power generation to barely rebound this year, after a shortage of skilled workers at its contractors cut output by 7.9 percent to 384 terawatt-hours in 2016.

EDF will probably miss its nuclear output goals in 2017 and 2018, lowering earnings to the bottom of the company’s latest forecasts, Olly Jeffery, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a Dec. 6 note. “Delays could slip into 2019 as
well,” he said. As EDF wrestles to prolong the lifespan of reactors by at least an extra decade, CITA Production, the firm founded by Piot’s father in 1964, isn’t the only subcontractor struggling to keep up with the utility’s fast-changing requirements.

December 16, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Drones still buzz around France’s nuclear power plants!

Liberation 5th Dec 2017, [Machine Translation] Drones still buzz around nuclear power plants. After
the autumn 2014 overflights, the authorities took technical and legislative
measures to put an end to them. These efforts only partially address this
new threat.

December 7, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Appeal filed against commissioning of the tank of the Flamanville nuclear plant.

Le Monde 30th Nov 2017, [Machine translation] Nuclear: appeal filed against the agreement given to
the commissioning of the tank of the Flamanville plant. Several NGOs
believe that the Nuclear Safety Authority should have vetoed the use of the
tank of the future EPR, which has anomalies.

The state of the tank of the European pressurized reactor (EPR) Flamanville (Channel) continues to
generate strong reservations and concerns. On Thursday, November 30th,
several NGOs, including Réseau sortie du nucléaire and Greenpeace, who
denounce anomalies in the construction of this tank, said they filed an
appeal before the State Council asking for the cancellation of the
agreement recently given by the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

“This tankwas not manufactured according to the rules of the art, there were bad
workmanship (…). ASN should have vetoed the possible use of this tank,
“said Charlotte Mijeon, Spokeswoman of the Network out of the nuclear.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Disturbing faults, safety dysfunction in France’s Paluel nuclear power plant in Normandy.

Bastamag 1st Dec 2017 [Machine translation] A new accident reveals serious dysfunctions in terms
of nuclear safety in France. In March 2016, during a replacement operation,
a 465-ton steam generator fell in the heart of the Paluel nuclear power
plant in Normandy. A serious and unprecedented accident, which miraculously
does not cause serious injury or radioactive contamination. Since then,
experts have investigated the causes of the accident.

Consulted by Bastamag, their report, the conclusions of which will be summarized to
employees this 1st of December, reveals major dysfunctions in the
preparation and supervision of the site, largely related to the massive use
of subcontracting. Disturbing faults, while the renovation projects of the
power stations will multiply.

December 2, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

Another corruption investigation of French nuclear company AREVA

Times 29th Nov 2017, The headquarters of the French state-owned company that designed Britain’s
new nuclear reactors was raided by police yesterday. About 50 officers
searched the offices of Areva, the nuclear engineering group, as part of a
preliminary inquiry into corruption allegations. The inquiry was launched
by the French national financial prosecution service into Areva’s purchase
in 2011 of uranium from Niger worth $319.8 million.

The uranium was sold later to Russian traders who made an $82 million profit and then to a
Lebanese company that made $17.6 million, according to French media
reports. A spokesman for Areva said that the deals had been lawful and were
part of negotiations with an unspecified customer to build a nuclear

In the end the reactor was never built. A spokesman for Niger’s
government told Le Monde that it had made about $800,000 from the
transactions and had used the money to buy cars for presidential

Areva, which designed the two reactors being built at Hinkley
Point by EDF, the state-owned French energy provider, is already under
investigation in connection with Niger. An inquiry was opened in 2014 into
allegations that it overpaid Uramin, a Canadian mining group, whose main
uranium mines were in Niger.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | France, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment