The Minister of Ecology Nelly Olin authorized EDF to discharge the hotter water of its thermal power stations in the rivers which they border for 3 sites and refused it for 3 other sites.
In view of the heatwave, EDF had requested to be authorized by exemption to carry out these discharges for 6 thermal power plants for the production of electricity, in Blénod (Meurthe-et-Moselle), La Maxe (Moselle), Porcheville (Yvelines) , Aramon (Gard), Richemont (Moselle) and Cordemais (Loire-Atlantique).
As a preventive measure, the minister authorized the prefects to take exemptions for the Aramon, Cordemais and Richemont power stations, stressing that these hot water discharges should only be carried out "in case of absolute necessity in order to to maintain the security of the electricity distribution network ”.
Nelly Olin has ruled out for the moment any possibility of derogation for the 3 other plants, considering that the operation of the latter was not essential to the continuity of supply to users.
Due to the heatwave, the temperature of the water in the rivers reached very high levels and close to the regulatory thresholds for water discharge temperature from electricity production plants.
EDF obtained this authorization for its nuclear power plants on Sunday and then initiated an equivalent process for its thermal power plants. For nuclear power plants, government approval is directly required, but for thermal power plants, authorization is given by prefectural decree. The prefects grant, or not, these authorizations after consulting the authorities concerned, in this case the Ministry of Ecology which has authority over environmental issues, the ministry said.
On Sunday, a decree published in the Official Journal authorized nuclear power plants discharging water into the river basins of the Garonne, Rhône, Seine, Meuse and Moselle, to discharge water hotter than the regulations does not allow it.