lifetime of nuclear power plants and new types of reactors

Report on the life of nuclear power plants and new types of nuclear reactors

Parliamentary report of the National Assembly, 2003.

This 363-page report in .pdf makes a technical and economic inventory of civil nuclear technology for the production of electricity and includes 3 essential parts:

Chap. 1: Managing the lifespan of power plants, an essential element in optimizing the fleet, but not sufficient.
Chap. 2: EPR and other reactors for 2015, a link between the parks of today and tomorrow.
Chap. 3: Major R&D effort required to successfully develop the other reactors in the pipeline by 2035.

More:
Debate on the lifespan of a nuclear power plant
Forum nuclear
The Fukushima disaster

Introduction

It was on November 6, 2002 that the National Assembly's Committee on Economic Affairs, Environment and Territory referred the Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices to a study on "the duration of life of nuclear power plants and new types of reactors ”.

Appointed on 20 November 2002, your Rapporteurs have, in accordance with the Office's procedure, drawn up a feasibility study concluding that it is actually possible to produce a report on this question within a few months. After this study was adopted on 4 December by the Parliamentary Office, your Rapporteurs immediately got to work.

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A few figures to quantitatively assess the work of preparing this report: 110 hours of official hearings in France or abroad, including one day of public hearing, 4 countries studied with multiple meetings on site, Finland, Sweden, Germany , United States, 180 people interviewed, many hours of informal discussions.

As is the more and more frequent practice at the Parliamentary Office, a steering committee, whose members are warmly thanked here, but whose responsibility is in no way committed by this text, provided effective assistance to select the personalities to be heard, identify the key questions and analyze the information provided by the interlocutors.

The text of the referral to the Economic Affairs Committee is clear. Consequently, the purpose of this report is neither to paint a picture of the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power, nor to indicate whether France would have an interest, in the future, in reducing the share of nuclear power in nuclear production. 'electricity.

This report, in contrast, aim to answer simple but fundamental questions for the French electricity production.

What phenomena can limit the operating life of nuclear power plants? How can we fight against their aging, at what cost and under what safety conditions?

Moreover, if the political decision is made to renew our power plants, on which date he will start doing it? What are the available technologies as an extension of current technologies, or rather out with channels currently in use, and when?

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For the national nuclear operator that is EDF and for the public electricity service to which the French are attached whatever their political affiliation, the lifespan of the reactors currently in service is a question of several tens of billions of dollars. euros.

The Parliamentary Office was the first in 1999 to put this question in the public domain, a question that has a financial impact not only on EDF's accounts, but also on the cost of the electricity that we consumers have. .

Beyond the situation of EDF and the electricity markets, operating reactors already depreciated economically and financially over a period of 30, 40 or 50 years is in truth far from being indifferent to the competitiveness of the French economy as a whole.

Likewise, France has built a nuclear industry which is one of its assets in global competition, represents a source of national jobs and which we must look to the future so that it can offer the country, when the time comes and where necessary, effective solutions for our energy supply.

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The choice of a technology for generating electricity has always been of critical importance and of great difficulty. We saw this clearly in our country at the end of the 1960s, where it was necessary to make a heartbreaking revision of our choices and to abandon the graphite-gas sector in favor of pressurized water reactors. Certainly, the issue of the lifespan of nuclear power plants deserves our full attention.

France has been involved since the start of the year in preparing the draft energy law, provided for by the law of February 10, 2000 on the modernization and development of the public electricity service.

As part of the calendar of the national debate organized by the Government, this report of the Parliamentary Office aims to contribute to the reflection of Parliament and our fellow citizens on the identification of deadlines relating to our nuclear power plant. and on the choice of technologies for its renewal.

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