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Nuclear reactor meltdown: France spared a “disaster” scenario for the winter

Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 6:00 pm

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has validated EDF’s management technique over corrosion issues encountered in some reactors in its French fleet. This corrosion downside is particularly recognized At welds in nuclear energy crops.

France has been spared a bleak scenario for its electrical energy provide. So excited for subsequent winter already. Members of the nuclear police have verified, on Wednesday 27 July, EDF’s technique going through corrosion issues affecting sure reactors. EDF plans to check all its reactors by ultrasound by 2025 to look for any indicators of the downside that has shut down 12 of the 56 reactors.

Team after all Priority management of the most delicate areas of the 1,450 MW reactor and about 1,300 MW. The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) “considers that EDF’s technique is acceptable given the information gained from the incident and associated issues of safety”, it indicated in a press launch, with out demanding a regulatory schedule. Stricter general.

“However, relating to reactor 2 of the Belleville nuclear energy plant, ASN considers that the inspection of this reactor scheduled for 2024 is just too late”, he famous. ASN considers that Knowledge of the phenomenon is “nonetheless evolving.” and “the management program should be tailored if management or evaluation reveals new materials”.

welding downside

This corrosion downside has been recognized The elbow weld of the security injection pipe (RIS) is suspected – which permits the reactor to chill down in the occasion of an accident – is related to the main circuit. This so-called “stress” corrosion ends in small cracks.

Some reactor shutdown reactor cooling circuits (RRA) may also be examined. The erosion problem weighs on the outlook for nuclear energy era and EDF’s monetary outcomes this yr, Which the authorities plans to resume 100%. It additionally raised issues for France’s electrical energy provide subsequent winter. Currently, 30 of the 56 reactors are shut down, together with 12 for corrosion and 18 for scheduled upkeep.

From this viewpoint, ASN’s resolution on Wednesday doesn’t worsen the scenario. Because nuclear police do not demand fast checks, synonymous with reactor outages, however primarily validating EDF’s schedule. The energy producer thought-about in May that it “doesn’t have to forecast new reactor shutdowns”.

Electricity costs are growing

“That’s the scenario we escaped from,” provides ASN An extra constraint that reduces nuclear availability for the coming winter“, explains Julien Tede, managing director of dealer Opera Energy. “A adverse opinion from ASN may very well be dangerous information”, even “a catastrophe”, he notes.

“I really feel fairly assured that ASN is making this resolution,” responded Sebastien Menesplier of CGT Mines-Energie, in an interview with AFP. “Given at the moment’s power scenario and manufacturing fleet, ASN higher confirm this, in any other case we might be in for a hell“, he famous.

Other components have been added, beginning with provide issues this winter Fuel gasoline costs are growing as a consequence of concern of scarcity In the context of the invasion of Ukraine, which is driving electrical energy costs to new highs. Prices have nearly doubled in a few weeks: Electricity for supply in France in 2023 was round 500 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) on Wednesday, down from 300 euros in mid-June.

“Severe shortages” are anticipated

These futures costs now not obey their normal financial logic, however maybe “anticipate a extreme scarcity” and “A excessive threat premium in the French electrical energy market“, in accordance with the sector regulator. The concern will not be restricted to the nuclear fleet. “The actual query for me is the interconnection”, when France depends on its neighbors for a part of the winter, decide Julien Tede.

If there may be gasoline rationing subsequent winterWith extra questions on solidarity between the states, it doesn’t appear to me utterly received that the Germans conform to burn gasoline to generate electrical energy and ship it to France”, he warned.

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