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France’s new president of the Nuclear Safety Authority concerned on safety of aging nuclear reactors

Le Monde 29th Jan 2019 “The state of nuclear installations is a real concern”, according to the
president of the Nuclear Safety Authority. The new president of the Nuclear
Safety Authority, Bernard Doroszczuk, is worried about the aging of the
park and the loss of skills.
https://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2019/01/29/l-etat-des-installations-est-un-vrai-sujet-de-preoccupation-selon-le-president-de-l-autorite-de-surete-nucleaire_5416128_3244.html

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January 31, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

France’s government snidely changes law to avoid paying compensation to Polynesian victims of atomic bomb testing

Dismay in Tahiti over changed nuclear compensation law  https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/381065/dismay-in-tahiti-over-changed-nuclear-compensation-law French Polynesia’s nuclear test veterans organisations are dismayed to find out that a planned change to the compensation law for test victims was quietly altered last year.

It emerged that in the finance act passed in France in the week before Christmas, a provision of negligible exposure for compensation claimants was included.

This was against the recommendation of a commission set up in 2017 which advised for the reference to negligible risk to be removed as a way to improve the 2010 compensation law.

There had been widespread clamour to change the law because most applications had been thrown out.

The head of the Moruroa e tatou organisation Roland Oldham told the public broadcaster that the situation was simple.

He said the French state refused to compensate the test victims by playing for time.

Father Auguste Uebe-Carlson of the Association 193 also condemned this change, saying the fight was continuing.

The 12-member commission which advised the French legislature was headed by a French Polynesian Senator Lana Tetuanui, who is yet to comment.

France tested 193 nuclear weapons in the South Pacific over a 30-year period, with some of the atmospheric blasts irradiating most islands.

January 29, 2019 Posted by | France, Legal, OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

French nuclear company EDF considering retreating from operations in UK

Telegraph 26th Jan 2019 The developer of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant is exploring a ­retreat from the UK as government ­energy policies take a toll on the industry’s largest players. Cash-strapped French utility EDF is weighing a range of options to distance itself from the British energy market.
The Sunday Telegraph understands from multiple industry sources that they include a potential spin-off of its energy-supply business in a merger with a fast-growing start-up. The move has been “on the table for at least a
year”, according to one senior figure, but it is being approached with caution by EDF’s Paris head office amid concern over the political implications.
A retreat by EDF would be likely to anger the Government. Ministers agreed to fund the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant in a complex deal which is likely to cost energy bill payers about £50bn over the lifetime of the project. EDF has remained committed to supplying gas and power to about 5m UK customers despite making losses for almost a decade, according to ­official figures.
Its place as one of the Big Six energy incumbents is considered politically important as it pushes ahead plans for
another two nuclear power projects with support from China. EDF is locked in negotiations with the Government over plans to fund its plans for a reactor at Sizewell C. Discussions about a step back from the energy-supply
market began after the departure of long-serving boss Vincent De Rivaz in 2017.
The radical proposal came as EDF faced mounting pressure from the Government’s energy price cap, and rising competition from the flood of start-ups into the market. Energy bosses are up in arms over the Government’s conflicting energy policies which demand companies keep bills low while paying higher costs for clean energy and the roll-out of smart meters.
EDF’s challenges are further complicated by its ageing portfolio of existing nuclear plants, where profits are falling due to low market prices for electricity and the weak pound. It is considering the sale of a minority stake in the reactors, which supply a fifth of the UK’s electricity, alongside its partner Centrica. The parent company of British
Gas has confirmed plans to sell its 20pc stake in the reactors and industry sources say EDF hopes to sell another 29pc from its share within the same transaction. The deal is understood to have caught the eye of a consortium
of ­pension funds which would hold a ­minority share of the business while EDF remains the operator of the ­nuclear reactors.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2019/01/26/edf-weighing-retreat-energy-market-uk/

January 28, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

France to replace Fessenheim nuclear plant with solar power project

EU approves France’s plan to replace nuclear plant with 300 MW of PV https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/01/21/eu-approves-frances-plan-to-replace-nuclear-plant-with-300-mw-of-pv/

The commission said the project selected through the tender will receive a premium tariff under a 20-year contract, and the tender’s budget is approximately €250 million.

“The aid will be granted by the French state and will contribute to the French and European objectives of energy efficiency and energy production from renewable sources, in line with the EU’s environmental objectives, with possible distortions of competition state support being reduced to a minimum,” the commission stated.

The tender was announced by the French government in April. In July, France’s Directorate General for Energy and Climate – part of the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition – revealed details of the tendering scheme. According to that announcement, 200 MW of the tendered capacity will be for ground-mounted PV ranging in size from 500 kW up to 30 MW, with the remaining 100 MW accounted for by rooftop projects larger than 8 MW in scale.

Potential tariffs estimated

The tender was to be implemented in three phases, starting late last year and continuing in the middle and latter stages of this year, and was set to comprise three groups of installations: the ground-mounted PV; rooftop systems on buildings, greenhouses, carports or agricultural buildings with an output of 500 kW to 8 MW; and rooftops with a capacity of 100-500 kW.

Projects selected among the first two categories will be entitled to a premium feed-in tariff while installations of the third and smallest category will have access to a regular FIT. The premium tariff for ground-mounted PV is expected to be €50-70/MWh, and that for larger rooftops €70-100/MWh. Smaller rooftop projects are expected to be granted €80-110/MWh.

The 40-year-old Fessenheim nuclear site, in the Haut-Rhin department of Alsace in northeastern France, is set to be decommissioned by next year. The plant has seen more than one temporary shutdown due to safety issues. One of the most high-profile issues occurred in April 2014, when Reactor 1 was shuttered. The French Nuclear Safety Authority reported at the time that internal flooding in the non-nuclear part of the reactor had damaged safety electrical systems. After being repaired, the reactor was reconnected to the grid in May the same year.

January 22, 2019 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Further tests to be made on Flamanville nuclear reactor’s faulty weldings

Reuters 21st Jan 2019 French state-owned power company EDF said it would make further tests next
month on faulty weldings at its Flamanville nuclear reactor plant, which
has been plagued by technical problems. “EDF actively continues to
implement the action plan on welds of the main secondary system announced
on 25 July 2018. The ‘hot tests’ are now scheduled to commence during
the second half of February,” EDF said in a statement. EDF said it would
keep the targeted construction costs for Flamanville at 10.9 billion euros
($12.4 billion).
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-edf-flamanville/french-utility-edf-to-make-further-tests-on-faulty-flamanville-weldings-idUKKCN1PF0JB?rpc=401&

January 22, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Drop in output of France’s nuclear reactors, due to delays and outages

French nuclear output drops to 52 GW on maintenance, outage, delays, S and P Global, 
 Andreas Franke , EditorJonathan Dart , 14  Jan 19 London — French nuclear output peaked at 52 GW Monday as an unplanned outage, delays to scheduled returns and planned maintenance kept availability below expectations, data from grid operator RTE and nuclear operator EDF show.

The 910-MW Blayais 2 reactor suffered an outage Sunday afternoon due to turbine failure in the non-nuclear part of the plant, EDF said. The reactor is due to return Monday at 8:00 pm local time (1900 GMT).

The 1.3-GW Penly 1 reactor is also scheduled to return Monday night following a three-month maintenance break.

The 1.3-GW Flamanville 1 unit is scheduled to return late Wednesday following a 10-year overhaul that began in April 2018 and extended for four months more than expected.

Flamanville 2 started its own 10-year-overhaul last week.

EDF has warned of a “particularly dense and complex maintenance schedule” this year, with seven reactors undergoing 10-year-overhauls.


Another two reactors are scheduled to go offline this weekend for annual maintenance.  ……–Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

–Edited by Jonathan Dart, newsdesk@spglobal.com    https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/electric-power/011419-french-nuclear-output-drops-to-52-gw-on-maintenance-outage-delays

January 15, 2019 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Five of France’s EDF nuclear reactors shut down, awaiting regulatory approval

Creusot: 5 EDF reactors still without ASN green light. Five nuclear
reactors are still waiting for an operating license from the Nuclear Safety
Authority (ASN) as part of the investigation of the manufacturing records
of the Creusot plant, while the other 53 have already received fire green,
Creusot’s spokesperson said .

“We are still waiting for elements of answers from EDF,” she said to explain the delay of the
investigation which was to end on December 31, 2018. The five reactors
concerned are Cattenom 4 (1,300 MW ), Fessenheim 1 (880 MW), Flamanville 2
(1,330 MW), Golfech 1 (1,310 MW) and Tricastin 2 (915 MW). All five
reactors will be shut down for maintenance in the coming weeks, as follows:
Cattenom 4 (January 19th to April 11th), Fessenheim 1 (January 19th to
March 20th), Flamanville 2 (January 10th to July 10), Golfech 1 (February
16 to March 23) and Tricastin 2 (January 26 to April 1). The reactors will
not be able to restart without prior approval from ASN.

January 12, 2019 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Communities call on France’s government to stop EDF from setting up nuclear facilities on agricultural land.

December 24, 2018 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

AREVA – ORANO? -Framatome? – corruption in the air yet again for France’s nuclear corporation?

Orano’s activities in Mongolia under judicial investigation for suspicion of corruption  https://www.lemonde.fr/energies/article/2018/12/19/les-activites-d-orano-en-mongolie-visees-par-une-enquete-judiciaire-pour-des-soupcons-de-corruption_5399983_1653054.html 19th Dec 2018 These suspicions of “bribery of a foreign public official” involve one of the service providers of Orano, the consulting firm Eurotradia International.

The French nuclear group Orano, [or is it Framatome?] formerly Areva, is in the sights of the national prosecutor’s office that investigates suspicions of corruption in Mongolia, it was learned, Wednesday, December 19,from sources close to the case. These suspicions of “bribery of a foreign public official” involve one of the service providers of Orano, the consulting firm Eurotradia International.

Anti-corruption campaign in Mongolia

In October 2013, under the chairmanship of Luc Oursel, Areva entered into a strategic partnership to exploit two uranium deposits in the Gobi Desert (southeast) with Mongolian Mon-Atom and Japan’s Mitsubishi. The agreement came after more than ten years of exploration of the French group in Mongolia, but it remained uncertain until the last moment. The project had sparked strong environmental opposition in this huge country of three million inhabitants, whose subsoil is rich in ores (uranium, copper, gold, coal).

The case is part of an anti-corruption campaign in Mongolia where, in another case, two former prime ministers were jailed in April for controversial deals with the mining giant, Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto.

In addition, the French nuclear group has already been targeted since 2015 by a preliminary survey of the PNF. This case, dubbed “uraniumgate”, is about the controversial sale in the fall of 2011, a large amount of Nigerian uranium for $ 320 million.  https://www.lemonde.fr/energies/article/2018/12/19/les-activites-d-orano-en-mongolie-visees-par-une-enquete-judiciaire-pour-des-soupcons-de-corruption_5399983_1653054.html


				
                

December 22, 2018 Posted by | France, Mongolia, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 4 Comments

How France multiplies hazardous nuclear waste.

Reporterre 11th Dec 2018  Claiming to ” recycle ” used nuclear fuel, the reprocessing industry complicates the management of waste by increasing the amount of plutonium and hazardous materials.
Most countries engaged in this dead-end way come out … but not France.
According to the official communication, the reprocessing does not generate
contamination, only ” authorized discharges ” . They are spit by the
chimneys, dumped at the end of a pipe buried in the Channel.
In reality, according to the independent expert Mycle Schneider, ” the plant is
authorized to reject 20,000 times more radioactive rare gases and more than
500 times the amount of liquid tritium that only one of the Flamanville
reactors located 15 km away. ” . It contributes ” almost half to the
radiological impact of all civilian nuclear installations in Europe ” .
https://reporterre.net/Comment-la-France-multiplie-les-dechets-nucleaires-dangereux

December 13, 2018 Posted by | France, Reference, reprocessing, wastes | 2 Comments

REPLACING NUCLEAR WITH RENEWABLES WOULD SAVE FRANCE $44.5 BILLION

Futurism, 13 Dec 18  The French government just announced a plan to power 95 percent of the country with solar and wind energy by 2060. And by doing so, the government would spend about $44.5 billion (39 billion euros) less than it would if it maintained its current energy infrastructure.

To get there, the government would need to cancel plans to construct 15 new nuclear power plants, and instead replace its aging nuclear reactors with renewable infrastructure over the next several decades, according to a new report published Monday by the French environmental agency.

The report details how France could increase its dependence on solar and wind energy over time, gradually shutting down nuclear power plants to make room for renewables.

But doing so will still be costly: the report suggests that developing these new power plants as well as the necessary infrastructure to support them will cost the government $1.45 trillion (1.28 trillion euros) over the next 42 years. That’s a huge investment, but it’s still much cheaper than maintaining the status quo and replacing the country’s aging nuclear power plants with more modernized reactors…….. https://futurism.com/the-byte/nuclear-plants-renewable-energy-france

 

December 13, 2018 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

Despite President Macron, France’s government report calls new nuclear power uneconomical

Building new nuclear plants in France uneconomical -environment agency https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL8N1YF5HCGeert De Clercq, DECEMBER 11, 2018 

State environment agency contradicts Macron on new nuclear

* New nuclear reactors would be structurally loss-making

* Renewables could account for 85 pct of power mix by 2050.

Building new nuclear reactors in France would not be economical, state environment agency ADEME said in a study on Monday, contradicting the government’s long-term energy strategy as well as state-owned utility EDF’s investment plans.

In a speech last month, President Emmanuel Macron said nuclear energy would remain a promising technology for producing low-cost, low-carbon energy and that EDF’s EPR reactor model should be part of future energy options.

Macron has also asked EDF to draw up a plan for building new reactors with a view to making a decision about nuclear in 2021

Two EPR reactors under construction in France and Finland are years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget.

“The development of an EPR-based nuclear industry would not be competitive,” ADEME said, adding that new nuclear plants would be structurally loss-making. bit.ly/2GlEbcT

Building a single EPR in 2030 would require 4 to 6 billion euros of subsidies, while building a fleet of 15 with a total capacity of 24 gigawatt-hour by 2060 would cost the state 39 billion euros, despite economies of scale that could bring down the EPR costs to 70 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh), ADEME said.

Renewables costs could fall to between 32 and 80 euros/MWh, depending on the technology, by 2060.

But extending the existing fleet too long, while also building new EPRs, would lead to overcapacity, compromising returns on all generation assets, including renewables.

EDF – which generates about 75 percent of French electricity with 58 nuclear reactors – declined to comment.

The ADEME report, which studied energy mix scenarios for 2020-2060, said renewables could account for 85 percent of power generation by 2050 and more than 95 percent by 2060, except if the government pushes through the EPR option anyway.

The gradual increase of renewables capacity could reduce the pre-tax electricity cost for consumers – including generation, grids and storage – to about 90 euros per MWh, compared to nearly 100 euros today, ADEME said.

ADEME director Arnaud Leroy, appointed in February, helped write the energy chapter of Macron’s election programme and was a spokesman for his campaign, but the agency is independent and earlier studies have also contradicted government energy policy.

In 2015, a ADEME study suggesting that France could switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 at a cost similar to sticking with nuclear was barred from publication for months by the government. reut.rs/2RLGKG8 (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by David Evans)

December 11, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

Why France must shut down many nuclear reactors

Backstory: Macron To Close Multiple Nuclear Reactors, But Why Now? https://cleantechnica.com/2018/11/30/backstory-macron-to-close-multiple-nuclear-reactors-but-why-now/?fbclid=IwAR0tO9BXT4FaNEuhnwexaC6cf4V6jj6cJLnQeiZPdA91t7SrrmL5n7xtRHg November 30th, 2018 by Michael Barnard 


President Emmanuel Macron of France depressed nuclear executives globally in late November 2018, announcing the planned retirement of 14 of 58 reactors by 2035. This was still less than was promised in his election campaign, but represents a major internal political battle, as well as a major change of France’s circumstances.

This has been an emerging story for several years.

France did a better job than most of building nuclear plants. They picked a single design and built a bunch of them over a relatively concentrated 20 years from about 1978 onward. It was a massive, state-funded, state-managed energy infrastructure initiative at a scale rarely seen. They dodged a bunch of the mistakes of other geographies somewhat by accident. They aren’t subject to earthquakes or tsunamis. They kept the technology highly standard. They developed a skilled workforce for building them and rewarded them well.

But the last nuclear reactor went live almost 20 years ago, the oldest ones are at end-of-life, and the skilled workforce only knows how to maintain and operate existing reactors now, not build new ones. The current President of France, Macron, used to be the Minister of Industry. He’s stated publicly that even he couldn’t find out how much the build-out actually cost, with the clear assertion that a bunch of actual costs were hidden.

“Nobody knows the total cost for nuclear energy,” he said. “I was minister for industry and I could not tell you.”

And France had to build nuclear to be load-following due to its over-reliance on a more usually inflexible form of generation. Nuclear is good for baseload up to 30–40%, but when it has to be turned on and off it gets a lot more expensive very quickly. France has the good fortune to have been able to export a lot of electricity to the rest of the EU for several years, but the energy mix on the continent is strongly favoring more flexible forms of generation.

And now, a few things have changed in the decades since France made its huge bet on nuclear generation in the Messmer Plan in 1974.

Renewables are dirt cheap, with Lazard’s latest figures bringing them in at 3–6 times cheaper than new nuclear. (Amusingly, Lazard still labels wind and solar as ‘alternative energy‘.) Europe is a leading geography for wind and solar, so skilled trades and supply chains all exist. Europe’s grid has strengthened and expanded over the past 30 years, so the need for a country to go it alone has diminished substantially.

The EU was founded in 1993 and France is an integral part of it, and that has two impacts. The first is that France’s energy independence policy that was part of the impetus for a massive nuclear fleet looks archaic in context of modern politics and economics. The second is that EU regulations forbid destabilizingly large governmental subsidies for energy, something which the Hinkley plant in the EU had to fight through. As Macron’s experience shows, it’s actually impossible for anyone to figure out how much any nuclear plant actually cost due to budget fudging. This last is true globally, by the way.

French attempts to build next-generation reactors are failing in multiple locations in France and elsewhere. The cost and budget overruns and construction failures are staggering.

And Chernobyl and Fukushima both happened since the French nuclear build-out began. Public support diminished substantially after those events, one on the same continent and one a world away.

France receives a greater percentage of its electricity from nuclear than any country in the world, at 72% close to 50% more than its nearest ‘competitor’, Slovakia. And it will diminish over the coming decades. Its last-built reactor will reach end-of-life in 2040 or so. It’s unlikely that it will be replaced. And it’s unlikely that more than a fraction of the aging reactors will be refurbished at all.

Wind, solar, a continent-scale grid, and open economic borders all contributed to the death of the French nuclear dream. It’s time for France to wake up and join the future, and it has. It voted in Macron, a politician who promised to reduce France’s nuclear fleet. He fought the entrenched bureaucracy and EDF, and while the new plans are slower than the promised ones, they are the right plans on a pragmatic timeline.

December 3, 2018 Posted by | France, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Report shows how unprepared France is, in the event of a nuclear accident

ACRO 15th Nov 2018 In the event of a serious nuclear accident, France is not ready. This is
the conclusion of a study of ACRO carried out for the ANCCLI (National
Association of Committees and Local Information Commissions). Indeed, the
lessons of the Chernobyl disaster were ignored, because it was an accident
described as “Soviet”, so impossible in France. Those of the Fukushima
disaster are slow to be taken into account.
https://www.acro.eu.org/plans-durgence-nucleaire-en-france-forces-et-faiblesses/

December 3, 2018 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Appeal lodged to stop commissioning of Flamanville EPR nuclear reactor vessel.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment