Traveling to Belfort (Territoire de Belfort), Emmanuel Macron announced, Thursday, February 10, the construction of six EPR 2 type nuclear reactors by 2050with commissioning of the first reactor around 2035. He also considered the prospect of eight additional EPR2s, a project that will be the subject of studies.
The EPR 2 is a draft version “optimized” of the EPR nuclear reactor – or European pressurized reactor (initially european pressurized reactorrenamed evolutionary power reactor) –, wanted to be simpler and cheaper to build than the latter.
EDF had launched, in 2015, the development of this high-power pressurized water reactor, with around 1,670 megawatts, while the oldest reactors in the French fleet are 900 megawatts. The group had submitted last spring to the executive its proposal to build six EPR 2 on existing sites, in pairs: first in Penly (Seine-Maritime), near Dieppe, then in Gravelines (North) and, finally , in Bugey (Ain) or in Tricastin (Drôme). The first could see the light of day around 2035.
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46 billion euros for three pairs of EPR2
Compared to the only EPR under construction in France at Flamanville (Manche), which has accumulated delays and additional coststhe EPR 2 is supposed to be “easier to build”, benefiting from a series effect (construction in pairs) and prefabrication in the factory or modularization, according to EDF. It is also “the first reactor to be completely digitally designed”, with 4D simulation and 3D visualization to better detect anomalies. The construction of several copies, as well as the optimizations made on the civil engineering and the construction methods, “will make it possible to make economies of scale”promises the group.
The Court of Auditors underlined the financial stake ” major “ what this program would represent, with a construction cost of three pairs of EPR 2 estimated at 46 billion euros. The magistrates also recently underlined “uncertainty in terms of the ability to build a new fleet of reactors in a timely manner and at reasonable costs”.
Any EPR 2 construction project must in particular receive authorization from the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) after a fairly long process. “The EPR 2 reactor is a reactor derived from the EPR, which has several significant changes compared to the latter and which requires a new “licensing” (licensing) »we emphasize to the ASN.
To build reactors, it will take several stages with a public debate on the project and the filing by EDF with the government of a request for authorization to create a nuclear installation, which will then be examined by the ASN. “The procedure, whose instruction period is three years (extendable for two years) includes a public inquiry and concludes with a creation authorization decree”we say to the ASN.