To reduce the share of nuclear in the French electricity and replace it with renewable sources, the minister of the ecological Transition announcement to study the closure of many reactors.
After a presentation of the Climate Plan of the quinquennium Macron, Nicolas Hulot made announcements more accurate. In particular, on nuclear power, the share of which in France should increase from 75 % today to 50 % in 2025, according to the known commitments of the law of energy Transition for the green growth of Ségolène Royal. When asked about the antenna of RTL, the minister replied : “Everyone can understand that to fulfill this objective, we will close a number of reactors“. And he continues : “Let me plan things out : this may be up to 17 reactors, it is necessary that we look at. Each reactor has a situation of economic, social, and even security are very different“.
- Nuclear power the French at the crossroads
Statements that occur while EDF has obtained, in the month of April 2017, to push back the closure of the oldest French central, that of Fessenheim in Haut-Rhin, located on a geological fault. No question, therefore, of Great Fairing for Nicolas Hulot, who intends to diversify the energy mix to national and to increase the deployment of renewables.
Seventeen reactors either five power plants
But what will be the consequences of this choice ? First of all, it is necessary to determine which reactors will be closed. Based only on the age of the plant, including Fessenheim 1 and 2 in the list of the 17 reactors shut down (out of 62 in operation), then four other plants will be impacted : – Bugey in the Ain, with its reactors numbered 2 to 5, Tricastin, in the Drôme region, with units 1 to 4, Dampierre , in the Loiret and its 4 reactors, finally Gravelines in the North for units 1 to 3. Factories, which are all entered service between 1972 and 1975, and which are of type CP0 and CP1. The reactor number 4 of Gravelines, on the other hand, would be “spared”, as listed in 18th position on the list. The oldest reactors appear between 33 and 36 years of operating time, since their first connection to the electrical grid, compared to 28.7 years for the average age of the French park.
From the point of view of the production of electricity, the impact will be colossal. The installations concerned all belong to the level of 900 Mw. The shutdown of 17 reactors of this power unit will deprive France of more of 15.3 GW of electricity at the horizon of 2025, a decline that will be potentially offset by the entry into service of the Flamanville 3, next generation reactor (EPR) of a very-high-power 1,600 MW. 13,7 GW remaining will therefore have to be compensated by an intense development of alternative sources, or by a drastic reduction in consumption. For comparison, the onshore wind farm in france exceeds only has 12.1 GW to this day. Its doubling by 2025 would thus not suffice. The entry into service of eight offshore wind farms of large size (500 MW each), or 4 GW in total), will improve, however, this balance sheet, which will also rely on the booster to the photovoltaic solar energy for which the park is today a little less than 7 GW.
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Billions of investments
The amounts to invest will be huge. To the extent that the cost of the plant shutdown will already be important. The board of directors of EDF has in particular intended to seek compensation for the loss resulting from the closing “early” of the single plant of Fessenheim, in the amount of the order of € 500 million for two reactors. Multiplied by the number of facilities referred to by the minister of the ecological Transition, the invoice could therefore exceed 4 billion euros. A human and social cost must also be anticipated, since the unit of Fessenheim employs 800 people and 250 contractors, the de Dampierre about 1,200 people, including 300 providers and Bugey, 1,400 people more than 400 providers. The dismantling of the sites and re-development towards other activities will therefore be of crucial issues since many thousands of jobs will be affected by the choice of company. Nicolas Hulot, did not budge : “If we want to reach the objective, mechanically, as we will reduce our consumption and diversify our production, we will close a number of reactors“. But it may not be ten-seven in the 8 years that come.