The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has just made public its opinion on the program to extend the life of several nuclear power plants equipped with 900 MWe reactors, including that of Braud-et-Saint-Louis, in Blayais , 45 km north of Bordeaux.
“ASN considers that all the measures provided for by EDF and those it prescribes open the prospect of continued operation of these reactors for the ten years following their fourth periodic review”, states ASN in its press release (read here). Clearly, initially planned to operate for forty years, the Blayais nuclear power plant can continue to produce ten more years.
ASN points out that “the authorization to create a nuclear installation […] is issued without any time limit and an in-depth review of the installation, called“ periodic review ”, is carried out every ten years to assess the conditions of the nuclear installation. continued operation of the installation for the next ten years. This examination gives rise to requirements imposed on the operator, EDF. Improvements and work related to reactor safety to be applied during the review phase.
In its contribution to public consultation, the NGO Greenpeace recalled that, according to it, Braud-et-Saint-Louis type plants have a structurally insufficient level of safety. Dated, they are poorly defended against certain risks: earthquakes, floods and a plane crash on the building.
Still according to Greenpeace, an extension of the lifespan must bring about an alignment of the safety conditions on what is required of the reactors of last generation, the EPR (European pressurized reactor). However, the organization notes, it has not been proven that the drastic standards imposed on EPRs can be transposed with the same efficiency to plants designed in the 1970s.