“I amHe wanted to be smart by pretending he knew, and he put his feet on the carpet,” laughs a nuclear expert, still appalled by the president’s blunders. Its “water” plane, on March 30, from Lake Serre-Ponçon. In the middle of a controversy on pensionsIn order to “set a course for the nation” by fulfilling an ambitious objective, the head of state wanted to regain control by presenting himself the plan that the relevant ministries had been preparing for months under the supervision of Matignon: “Achieving 10% water savings in all sectors by 2030.”
It was then that the President clearly departed from his speech and mentioned the electricity generation sector, recalling that the cooling of nuclear power plants accounts for the consumption of 12% of the country’s annual water supply. “In nuclear power, we must adapt our nuclear power plants to climate change by undertaking a broad investment program to save water and allow them to operate more in closed circuits,” the president pledged. Dizziness in the ranks of experts.
Read moreDrought and nuclear power: an explosion of imaginations “An open-loop power plant rejects all the water it takes into the environment, so it consumes nothing,” notes Valérie Facon, general representative of the French nuclear power company. “In contrast, in a closed circuit, part of the water from the cooling towers evaporates and is removed in the middle. Closed loop power plants use more water than others…”
No “investment plan”.
Supporting nuclear power plants operating in a closed circuit is not to save water, but for environmental reasons, the park must be adapted to a 10 to 40% drop in the flow of rivers and streams: the withdrawn water returns to the middle. , warms 4 to 8 degrees before dilution, affecting ecosystems if the river’s overall temperature exceeds a certain threshold.
Each summer, EDF has to reduce the power of a few reactors, resulting in production losses “less than 1% of annual production, except in 2003, marked by an episode when a one-year historic heat wave reached 1.4%” , the court of auditors noted in a report in March, Precisely, “Adaptation of the fleet of nuclear reactors to climate change”. A recent study, published Natural energyIt estimates that global productivity losses associated with climate unavailability will reach nearly 2% by 2100.
Read moreEveryone lies about nuclear power… This is because… no investment program is planned to “adapt” the existing fleet. On the one hand, the Court of Auditors documents that many adaptations have already been made. “Since the 1990s EDF has gradually developed a comprehensive knowledge of climate issues and their impacts on temperature, water resources or sea level, and has set up governance, internal structure and research programs and development in response to them,” the company asserts.
Since 2014, the electrician has a “climate service”. 960 million euros have been invested in the period 2006-2021 to adapt the park to the climate, especially heat waves, and “the planned expenditure on adaptation to climate change in the period 2022-2038 is approximately 612. million euros”, the Court of Auditors notes.
No thought of future reactors
“The president’s comments are consistent with the continuation of the Nuclear Policy Council,” which confirmed the start of new studies aimed at extending the life of power plants to 60 years. point, Ministry of Energy Transition. The “investment plan” is not planned yet. “Improvements are possible, but there is no question of converting an open circuit power station to a closed power station! It’s complicated, the cost is high for the low benefit,” says a source familiar with the matter.
Read moreHow Macron’s Progressive Water Pricing WorksFurthermore, this is confirmed by the report of the Court of Auditors, which reports on the exploratory studies carried out by EDF on the possibility of providing some sites with air cooling towers at the power stations of Saint-Alban, Bugey and Tricastin. “The technical and land feasibility is very complex and difficult to implement. The costs are very high: the installation cost of around 500 million euros and the significant maintenance costs still need to be assessed”, EDF estimated, which emphasizes that “the construction of the air cooler will limit the increase only by reducing the climate problems. The river The temperature and water volume are returned, but by creating other environmental defects (consumption of water from the river through evaporation and discharges). »
Today, no budget is planned, and none of the 53 measures in the water plan released on March 30 are related to nuclear power. However, the electrician will in the near future provide answers to the Court of Auditors’ questions regarding future EPR reactors with “no specified technical development” based on the “low water” cooling system. A thought – even a failure – needs to be filled.
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