France Building Nuclear Reactors Again

French President Emmanuel Macron said France will build six new nuclear reactors.

This will keep France’s energy costs at a “reasonable” level and reduce dependence on imports. France will save energy and invest in domestic carbon-free energy production. Nuclear power was at the heart of Macron’s France 2030 plan for re-industrialization which was announced last month.

According to a report published by RTE in late-October, the cheapest way for France to achieve its net-zero emissions target by 2050 would be through the construction of 14 large new reactors, plus a fleet of small modular reactors, as well as significantly investing in renewables.

EDF has already stated that it would like to construct six more EPR reactors in France. The group was due to submit a report to the French President in mid-2021, who was then to decide on the construction of the reactors.

EDF and Framatome are developing a simplified version of the EPR design, known as EPR2. The new reactor will be an optimized version of the current EPR. All the tried-and-trusted elements as well as the basic design will nevertheless remain the same.

How does EPR2 differ from the previous EPR version?

EPR2 will be even safer. They are increasing its operational flexibility and reducing construction costs. By refining the design, they are streamlining the construction process, allowing many components to be prefabricated and harnessing the potential in standardization. Plus, we are, of course, making use of the latest digital technologies.

When will the new reactors be operational?

The first new reactors are scheduled for completion in 2030. They are set to replace six older reactors at three sites in France.

Nuclear accounts for almost 75% of France’s power production, but former French president Francois Hollande said he aimed to limit its share of the national electricity generation mix to 50% by 2025, and to close Fessenheim – the country’s oldest nuclear power plant – by the end of his five-year term, in May 2017. In June 2014, his government announced nuclear capacity would be capped at the current level of 63.2 GWe and be limited to 50% of France’s total output by 2025. The French Energy Transition for Green Growth Law, adopted in August 2015, did not call for the shutdown of any currently operating power reactors, but it meant EDF would have to close older reactors in order to bring new ones online. However, under a draft energy and climate bill presented in May 2019, France will now delay its planned reduction in the share of nuclear power in its electricity mix to 50% from the current 2025 target to 2035.

SOURCES- World Nuclear News, EDF
Written By Brian Wang,

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