The decision has not yet been formally taken, but the discussion on Wednesday at the EDF Board of Directors has progressed well. According to our information, the group’s management has proposed four sites for the six new reactors that it wants to be able to build in the next fifteen years. All these sites are those of nuclear power plants already present, near which there are sites to install new reactors.
The first site chosen should be that of Penly (Seine-Maritime), which already has two reactors in operation. An orientation welcomed by the CGT of the site, which mentioned, Thursday evening, in a press release “Very good news for the nuclear industry of excellence. This will allow the know-how to continue while creating hundreds of jobs ”.
The Penly site had already been considered on several occasions to accommodate an EPR. This idea had notably been put forward during the five-year term of Nicolas Sarkozy, who had pleaded for this project in 2009. But this announcement had fizzled out. Two other sites are under study to install two pairs of EPRs in the future: the Gravelines nuclear power station in Hauts-de-France, which is already the most important nuclear site in Europe. And another on the banks of the Rhône, either the Bugey (Ain) or the Tricastin (Drôme), each of which already has four reactors.
EDF does not officially confirm this announcement, especially since no decision has been formally taken by the public authorities. The group must submit a full report to the President of the Republic in mid-2021 to allow him to decide – or not – to build six new EPRs. The industry defends the fact of building these reactors in pairs to limit costs and pool teams. The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, has already indicated that this decision could only be taken formally after the start of the Flamanville EPR – which should not be connected to the network before 2023, after years of site with many drifts. In other words: no decision should be taken before the 2022 presidential election.
But EDF must prepare the ground to present the most complete project possible, and the selection of sites is one of the crucial stages. “The technical-industrial analyzes carried out by our engineering teams have led us to consider that the Penly site has advantages and compatibility for accommodating a new installation (land availability, local industrial density, employment area, logistics facilities) », However specifies the group, which adds “Penly is a natural choice which had already been considered to accommodate an EPR several years ago”. This desire to move forward on the part of EDF comes at a time when the nuclear sector is doubly under the spotlight.
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