Going “much faster” on nuclear power as Macron wants will not advance the opening of power plants

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STEPHANE MAHE / AFP French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech in the sub-prefecture of Saint-Nazaire after a visit to the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm off the coast of the Guerande peninsula west of France, on September 22, 2022. (Photo by STEPHANE MAHE / POOL / AFP) STEPHANE MAHE / AFP President Emmanuel Macron in Saint-Nazaire after a visit to the offshore wind farm on September 22, 2022. (Photo by STEPHANE MAHE / POOL / AFP) NUCLEAR – Open the first EPR reactors before 2035? This is the promise made by Emmanuel Macron, without specifying the new horizon chosen. Visiting Saint-Nazaire on Thursday, September 22, the president developed his will in the field of energy: on renewables, at the heart of his visit to the first French offshore wind farm, but also on the atom. Regarding renewables, the Head of State said he wanted to go “twice as fast”, to reach the figure of “fifty offshore wind farms” by 2050, while continuing with onshore wind energy. The same enthusiasm for solar energy, for which Emmanuel Macron raised the possibility of a “liberation of the earth”: specifically, the authorization to put solar panels on industrial wastelands, or even on the edge of the roads Be nuclear, therefore. “I announced the first phase in 2035 for nuclear. What I want is for us to go much faster,” said the president, resuming his plans revealed last February. He then promised 6 EPR reactors by 2035 (the Flamanville planned for 2012, but not operational), and 8 additional reactors under study to meet French energy needs. So it’s time to show solid momentum at a time when the strain on the grid is felt. A an ambition that materializes with the renewables acceleration law that will be approved by the Council of Ministers on September 26 and which Emmanuel Macron wants to be inspired by for the nuclear fleet: “We can go much faster if we simplify things. so we will be in the same logic about nuclear”. But it’s not that simple, explains Ludovic Dupin, director of information at the French Nuclear Energy Company (SFEN). Is it even possible to go faster than the president wants? And for what gain? It is not feasible to speed up the construction part of the project, but before the concrete is laid, yes. The administrative part, environmental impact study, building permit… Today these examinations are sequential, they are done one after the other, or some of them could be done in parallel. Of course, this does not mean reducing safety standards or public debate. This was announced by Agnès Pannier-Runacher, evoking for January 2023 a law “accelerating nuclear energy” equivalent to the one that will be presented for renewables. Will this really save time? Two things limit. At the moment the decisions have not been taken, and the law still foresees the closing of twelve reactors and not the opening of six. Therefore, a new law will be needed. So, we need this simplification law as soon as possible; before the concrete is poured, which at best will start in 2027. The reactor will still be operational in 2035, but we are gaining ground: the announcements made by Emmanuel Macron about the construction timetables were made from a quite tense way. With this simplification, we will allow for construction hazards. Do you think it’s a viable strategy to want to speed up, when nuclear power raises so many safety questions? It’s really impossible to cut corners in safety. The Nuclear Safety Authority is independent. This hazard was discovered in the current French park [plus d’une dizaine de réacteurs français sont à l’arrêt pour des raisons de corrosion], currently being repaired. Also, EPRs are another technology. Finally, the important thing today is to be more autonomous, less dependent on fossil fuels, and for this the solution is a mixture of nuclear and renewable. See also at The HuffPost: You cannot view this content because you have declined cookies associated with third-party content. If you want to see this content, you can change your preferences.
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