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France: fire forces the shutdown of two of the oldest nuclear reactors

An accident in France highlights the fragility of the country's nuclear generation system. Nuclear power operator EDF has closed two reactors in Chinon , western France, after a fire in a non-nuclear sector of the plant in the early hours of Saturday, the company said.

“The production unit number 3 of the Chinon nuclear power plant has shut down automatically, in accordance with the safety and protection systems of the reactor,” EDF said in a statement, adding that it had also shut down reactor number 4, coupled above, for greater security.

France's nuclear safety body said in a separate statement that the fire caused an electricity outage at the plant that triggered the automatic shutdown. Without electricity there is a greater danger for the systems linked to the risk of failure of some cooling systems. Just to recall a memory, the Chernobyl accident was caused by an experiment linked precisely to the functioning of the cooling system in the absence of external power.

Here we see the real problem of French nuclear plants: they are often old. Chinon is one of the oldest: the plant, as a whole, dates back to the early sixties, the reactors still in operation are from the 80s, from 1984 to 1987. The oldest reactors are from the era in which Michael Jackson made you scream while singing Beat it!! Of the four pressurized water reactors operating in Chinon, producing 3.8 GW in total, two are scheduled to be decommissioned in 2024 and another two by 2027.

Obviously this will NOT be the case, and EDF will update some systems, to then be able to say that the useful life is extended by another 10 years, also because rebuilding a power plant like this, with the current European bureaucracy, risks taking between 10 and 20 years , as happened in Flamanville which has been under construction since 2007. Because it seems that in the magnificent Europe of the EU, what has been done for decades has become practically impossible.

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The article France: fire forces the shutdown of two of the oldest nuclear reactors comes from Economic Scenarios .

This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL https://scenarieconomici.it/francia-incendio-obbliga-allo-spegnimento-di-due-reattori-nucleari-fra-i-piu-vecchi/ on Sun, 11 Feb 2024 10:25:28 +0000.