nuclear power plants, heating and heat wave

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Or how EdF happens to lobby to counter the standards for temperature cooling water of its atomic plants.


The heat wave of 2003 had revealed the dog days of 2006 confirmed: nuclear plants are very sensitive to ambient temperatures above average! Reason: it is necessary to cool a plant with river water. But not only these waters are now warmer (heat wave) but river flow is also limited (drought). And as EdF has in theory no right to warm the water more than X ° C.

Thus the X values ​​is fixed at 0,3 ° C for facilities located along the Garonne, in 1,5 ° C for facilities located along Meuse, Moselle, Seine and 1 ° C for facilities located along the Rhone equipped, partially or entirely, atmospheric cooling towers. This value shall be 3 ° C in the absence of such towers.

Because the river flow is constant and the temperature difference is set by the standards, there is a heat balance problems and worries cooling (or heating) therefore create. A loss of power could easily solve the problem ...

Only here is: EdF can not easily reduce its production for the strong development of air conditioners (since 2003) now demand a higher power during the summer (+ 3% compared to normal in July by RTE). The mechanical air conditioners are not at all a solution to the problem of global warming, on the contrary they contribute significantly to the overheating of urban centers and the electricity consumption! And to think that there are solar air conditioners ... but that is another debate.

To meet demand, EDF therefore has no choice but to reject warmer water than required by the standards ...

Excerpts from press:

1) Heatwave: EDF wants his plants can reject warmer waters

EDF asked the government to exceptionally authorize, in case of persistence of the heat wave, its nuclear and thermal power stations located along the river to collect and discharge cooling water at temperatures "slightly higher" standards, announced the group Saturday.

"The need to maintain the security of electricity supply in the territory, under the current conditions of very persistent heat in several European countries, led EDF to seek, as a precaution, the implementation of exceptional measures with the public authorities ", Said EDF in a statement.


The leave application was made to the Ministries of Finance, Ecology and Health, which, if they accept it, take a ministerial decree to this effect, said a spokeswoman for EDF joined by AFP.


At Golfech, water is returned to the maximum degree against 30 28 usually while at Bugey, it is up to 27 24 degrees against normal, EDF said in a statement.

To explain its decision, the group pointed out that "the exceptional heats of the last days, superior from 3 to 6 degrees to seasonal norms, have caused a historic rise of the temperatures of the rivers" and weakened the water resources, "essential to the hydraulic production "and the cooling of power stations.

2) Heatwave: exemptions for d`eau granted to EDF releases

In a statement, however, EDF stresses that a similar device was set up during the heat wave of 2003 and "no impact on fauna or flora was found."
Exemptions have been granted this summer for three stations located on the Garonne and the Rhone.
The company recently recalled being forced to buy electricity on the wholesale markets to ensure the supply of French territory.
The 19 July EDF announced it had bought 2.000 megawatts of electricity abroad.

3) Heatwave: derogation and nuclear power 3 everywhere ...

Exceeding these temperature thresholds could result in the shutdown of several power generation plants.

EDF asked the Government to authorize exceptions to the temperature of releases to water for 6 power plants for electricity production, Blénod, La Maxe, Porcheville, Aramon, Richemont and Cordemais.

Nelly Olin, Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development, rejected for now any possibility of waiver of 3 6 stations concerned. This decision was taken after consulting the Ministry of industry, from the analysis of its services in terms of impact on natural aquatic environments and on the information provided by the operator of the transmission network electricity, RTE. Indeed, the operation of these stations may not be essential to the user supply continuity.

It authorized, for preventive purposes, the prefects to take exemptions 3 plants (Aramon, Cordemais and Richemont). These exceptions are triggered only when absolutely necessary to maintain the security of the electricity distribution network and are accompanied by flanking measures relating to environmental friendliness.


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