AFP, published on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 at 13:47
The Nuclear Safety Agency (ASN) confirmed on Wednesday EDF’s control strategy regarding the corrosion problems encountered by certain reactors in its French fleet.
EDF plans to ultrasonically scan all of its reactors by 2025 to look for traces of this problem, which has led to the shutdown of 12 out of 56 reactors.
The group needs to give priority to controlling the most sensitive areas of the 1,450 MW reactors and some of the 1,300 MW reactors.
“ASN believes that EDF’s strategy is appropriate given the knowledge it has acquired of the phenomenon and the security issues it poses,” reads a press release.
“Regarding reactor 2 of the Belleville nuclear power plant, however, ASN considers that the inspection of this reactor scheduled for 2024 is too late,” she specifies.
ASN believes that knowledge of the phenomenon known as ‘corrosion under stress’ is ‘still evolving’ and that ‘the inspection program needs to be adjusted if inspection or analysis uncovers new elements’.
This corrosion problem in certain circuits is weighing on nuclear power generation prospects and financial results this year for EDF, whose government has planned 100 percent renationalization.
It has also raised concerns about powering France next winter. Thirty of 56 reactors are currently shut down, including 12 for corrosion and 18 for scheduled maintenance.
From this point of view, the decision of the ASN on Wednesday does not aggravate the situation, because the nuclear police officer does not call for faster checks, tantamount to reactor shutdowns, but essentially confirms the EDF.
In May, the electricity producer considered that it was “not necessary to expect new reactor shutdowns”.
“I find it quite reassuring that ASN is making this decision,” Sébastien Menesplier of CGT Mines Energy told AFP.
“Given today’s energy situation and production fleet, it’s all the better that ASN confirms this, otherwise we would have ended up in a hell of a mess,” he stressed.
For her part, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister for Energy Transition, welcomed “the culmination of the work between the Nuclear Safety Agency and EDF”.
“They testify to the full mobilization of their teams to find the best solutions and ensure the operation of the nuclear fleet in compliance with the highest safety requirements,” she said.