Extending the life of the nuclear fleet to 80 years is “not a taboo”, according to an EDF official

“Six reactors in the United States have obtained an operating license for up to 80 years and it turns out that our technologies are more or less similar,” the EDF nuclear chief pointed out to the deputies.

Should the lifespan of French nuclear power plants be extended? EDF does not seem to exclude it. Hearing Thursday at the National Assembly, Cédric Lewandowski, executive director of EDF in charge of the nuclear and thermal park, indicated that “the question (was) on the table“. “She is under science instruction at this point“, he added.

Today, the great scientific, technical and economic consensus is that our fleet is suitable for 60 years (…). The question of the transition from 60 to 80 requires a certain amount of study work and therefore we are engaging them“, added the head of nuclear energy, ex-director of cabinet of Jean-Yves Le Drian at the Quai d’Orsay.

According to him, “80 years old is not a taboo“. Cédric Lewandowski is based on the American example. “Six reactors in the United States have been licensed to operate to 80 years and our technologies happen to be roughly similar“, he underlined in front of the deputies, within the framework of the hearings on the”reasons for France’s loss of sovereignty and energy independence“.

The 60 years not acquired, according to the ASN

If EDF indicates on its site that its nuclear power plants “are designed to be operated for at least 40 years“, and if the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has authorized the extension of the oldest reactors up to 50 years, the energy company is now counting on a lifespan of 60 years. It is also the RTE network operator’s reference trajectory in its scenarios for “energy futures 2050», which envisages in parallel the extension of certain reactors beyond 60 years.

It is the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) that will decide whether our facilities are fit to pass this 60-year milestone.“, indicated the Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher on January 11 before the senators. Last December, the ASN warned EDF about the milestone of 50 years, which the oldest reactors will reach from 2030. The authority, through the voice of its director general Olivier Gupta, called the energy company to work to provide proof that its reactors will be able to be extended beyond 50 years.


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