France has 56 nuclear power reactors in operation, with two units closing in 2020 at Fessenheim (61 370 MW(e)) and one EPR reactor under construction at the Flamanville site. Nuclear power plants accounted for 70.6% of total French electricity generation in 2019, and about 90% of France’s electricity comes from low carbon sources (nuclear and renewable). The development strategy for nuclear power is related to the goals set forth by the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act (ETGGA) and the Multiyear Energy Plan (MEP), whose final version was published in 2020. Future implementation of the plan will depend, in particular, on developments in the renewable energy sector and criteria related to the security of supply.
This report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programmes in France, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power programme that together lead to safe and economical operations of nuclear power plants (NPPs).
The CNPP summarizes organizational and industrial aspects of nuclear power programmes and provides information about the relevant legislative, regulatory and international framework in France.
1. COUNTRY ENERGY OVERVIEW
1.1. ENERGY INFORMATION
1.1.1. Energy policy
France’s energy policy is defined under a regulatory framework set by the ETGGA, passed in August 2015. This law is associated with a multiannual energy plan which sets the priorities and the means to fulfil the goals of the act and is related to the national low carbon strategy, which outlines the path to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases and to transition to a low carbon economy.
The main priority of this adopted transition is to work towards a more efficient energy system to tackle climate change and reinforce energy independence, all while striving for a better balance in the energy mix, creation of jobs, generation of business growth, protection of human health and the environment, as well as ensuring access to affordable energy for the whole population and for businesses.
The main policy objectives of the act include the following:
Foster the emergence of a competitive and attractive economy for industrial sectors that contribute to green growth;
Ensure energy supply and reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports;
Maintain a competitive energy price for companies and residential consumers;
Protect human health and the environment by reducing greenhouse effects, industrial risks and air pollution, as well as maintaining high standards of nuclear safety;
Ensure social awareness and land integration to provide sustainable energy access for every household;
Tackle fuel poverty;
Support the creation of the European Energy Union to build a decarbonized economy, while coordinating national energy policies.
The act also sets quantitative targets for the aforementioned energy policy:
Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% in 2030 compared to 1990.
Reduce total energy consumption by 50% in 2050 compared to 2012.
Reduce the use of fossil fuels by 30% in 2030 compared to 2012.
Increase the share of renewable energy sources to 23% and 32% of total energy consumption, respectively, in 2020 and 2030. Renewable energies must reach 40% of electricity generation by 2030.
Multiply by 5 the heat quantity generated by renewable and recovery sources by 2030.
Reduce the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation to 50% by 2035.
Cap the nuclear capacity at its current level of 63.2 GW(e).
In order to meet objectives set in the act, the Government published the MEP in 2020. This document sets out the Government’s strategic priorities in terms of energy policy over the next 8 years. The MEP also covers all aspects of energy policy (demand, renewable energy, security of supply, infrastructures, etc.) and all forms of energy (including electricity). The main goals of the new plan are to:
Increase the installed electricity generation capacity from renewable sources by over 50% compared to 2012 and increase renewable heat generation between 40 and 60% compared to their respective 2017 and 2016 levels;
Reduce the total energy consumption by 7.6% in 2023 and 16.5% in 2028 compared with 2012, and reduce the primary consumption of fossil fuels by 20% in 2023 and 35% in 2028 compared with 2012;
Put 1.2 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the road by 2023;
Develop the flexibility of the power system by launching hydroelectric storage projects and developing demand response capacities;
Prepare for the closing of all coal fired plants by 2022;
Maintain high reliability standards for electricity and gas, while reducing the use of fossil fuels.
Concerning the evolution of installed nuclear capacity in France, the Council of Ministers announced that the reduction of the nuclear share in electricity production will be difficult to achieve by 2025 without resorting to new fossil fuel power plants, which would not respect France’s commitments towards climate change. However, the Government of France is still committed to diversifying the electricity mix by developing renewable energies and confirmed in the MEP its ambition to reduce the share of nuclear energy to 50% by 2035.
1.1.2. Estimated available energy
Table 1 shows France’s estimated available energy.
TABLE 1. ESTIMATED AVAILABLE ENERGY SOURCES
|Solid||Liquid||Gas||Uranium||Hydro||Other electric renewables|
|Total amount in specific units*||0||9.87||9.7||n.a.||25.5 GW installed||26.1 GW installed|
* Solid, liquid: million tonnes; gas: billion m3; uranium: metric tonnes. n.a.: data not applicable.
Source: Panorama Energies — Climate 2016 (Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition), Chiffres clés de l’énergie 2016, Bilan électrique français 2018 (RTE), World Energy Council.
1.1.3. Energy statistics
France has deposits of various metals and few fossil fuel resources. Owing to high recovery costs, the generation of fossil fuels has decreased to a low level and is not expected to provide a significant share of the country’s energy supply in the future. Most hydropower resources are already being used at near maximum capacity. Therefore, France’s energy policy sets a high emphasis on improving energy independence through the development of energy efficiency initiatives and domestic generation technologies, including nuclear power, alternative energies and renewables, in order to alleviate vulnerability to the volatility of international fossil fuel markets and to meet the commitments set forth by the Paris Climate Agreement.
Table 2 provides statistical data on energy and electricity supply and demand between 1971 and 2018. It illustrates the long-term increase of nuclear power in primary electricity generation to improve France’s energy independence. Since 1973, domestic primary energy consumption has regularly increased but also recently decreased from 2010; domestic generation accounts for some 50% of that consumption. Yet, the overall energy balance has improved over the past two decades, mainly due to the rise of electricity exports.
TABLE 2. ENERGY STATISTICS
|In EJ||2000||2010||2015||2017||Compound annual growth rate (%) 2000 to 2017|
* Energy consumption = Primary energy consumption + Net import (Import-Export) of secondary energy.
** Solid fuels include coal, lignite.
Source: Bilan énergétique de la France métropolitaine 2017, données provisoires (Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition).
During the post-World War II reconstruction period, France’s economic and social development relied mainly on the deployment of energy intensive industries. At that time, rapidly increasing energy needs were partially met by domestic coal and hydropower resources. However, as France’s domestic fossil fuel resources were limited and costly, the country was heavily reliant on imports for its energy supply. By 1973, imports covered more than 75% of the national energy consumption, compared to 38% in 1960. After the 1970s oil crisis, it was determined that the country needed greater energy independence. Similarly, the implementation of a large nuclear power programme became a major element of France’s energy policy, including energy saving measures, efficiency improvement and research and development (R&D) in the field of renewable energies. The share of nuclear power in the primary energy supply increased from less than 2% in the late 1970s to about 30% in the mid-1990s, rising to 42% in 2010.
The main macroeconomic impacts of France’s energy policy regarding the nuclear sector are: low GHG emissions, drastic improvement in the energy trade balance, stabilization of domestic energy prices at lower levels, increased competitiveness of French companies in international markets and deployment of a nuclear industry sector covering reactor construction and the whole fuel cycle. The replacement of fossil fuel power by nuclear energy and more recently by renewables production for electricity generation resulted in a drastic reduction of atmospheric emissions from the energy sector.
1.2. THE ELECTRICITY SYSTEM
1.2.1. Electricity system and decision making process
The General Directorate for Energy and Climate (DGEC), under the Ministry for the Ecological Transition (MTE), is in charge of implementing the Government policy on energy within the framework of the European directives.
An Advisory Energy Council (Conseil supérieur de l’énergie) is consulted on draft regulations in the energy sector, in order to enable in-depth exchanges between DGEC and stakeholders.
The national regulatory authority is CRE (Commission de régulation de l’énergie). CRE guarantees equal access to the gas and power networks to all market players, so as to promote competition. It monitors the activities of gas and electricity system operators and provides for the economic regulation of this monopoly, also defining transportation and distribution tariffs. It monitors electricity and gas market functions and competition on the retail market, thus contributing to the protection of final consumers and end users.
The transmission system operator RTE (Réseau de transport de l’électricité) is in charge of ensuring the generation and consumption balance of the grid, operating the power system, and maintaining and developing the public power transmission network. A 10 year plan defining the development of the electric grid is established each year by RTE and submitted to CRE. RTE is also in charge of publishing a yearly report assessing the generation adequacy of the power system (with respect to the reliability standard defined by the MEP). RTE was a fully owned subsidiary of Électricité de France (EDF) until 2017, when 29.9% of its capital was sold to Caisse des dépôts and 20% to CNP Assurances.
The distribution system operators include Enedis (EDF subsidiary) to cover 95% of France, with local distribution companies overseeing the remaining 5%. Distribution networks belong to local authorities and are operated under a concession regime.
Created in 2006, the Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire — ASN) is an independent administrative authority in charge of ensuring the control of nuclear safety, radioprotection, transparency and information relations with citizens.
More information on the legal framework of France’s power system can be found on Legifrance (Energy Code).
1.2.2. Structure of electric power sector
After a considerable increase of electricity generation since the 1970s, generation levels remain steady, at around 550 TWh per year. France’s electricity generation has very low CO2 emissions, in large part due to its nuclear fleet and development of renewable energies. In December 2018, installed capacities amounted to 133 GW in total (47.4% nuclear, 38.7% renewable energies, 13.9% fossil fuel fired plants). The installed capacity of renewable units is steadily growing (in particular, solar, wind and biomass) as a result of implemented support schemes. The fossil fuel fired fleet is decreasing, owing to economic conditions and environmental policies. The nuclear fleet has remained unchanged since the start of commercial operation of the last reactor in 2002 (Civaux-2). A new reactor is under construction (Flamanville-3) and should replace an equivalent nuclear capacity, since the ETGGA introduced a ceiling for nuclear capacity.
Following years of steady increase in electricity consumption, domestic consumption levels have also stabilized. France’s electricity consumption is characterized by its high thermosensitivity, which leads to peak loads in winter and possible risks for the security of supply. In January 2017, France implemented a capacity mechanism, creating an obligation for suppliers to maintain a generation capacity corresponding to their consumers’ portfolio and aiming at ensuring compliance with France’s reliability standard.
EDF is the main operator for electricity generation and supply. It operates all nuclear power plants and a significant part of the fossil fuel fired and hydropower plants, as well as other renewable capacities. The other main producers are Engie, CNR and Uniper.
France’s transmission grid is comprised of 105 857 km of power lines.
1.2.3. Main indicators
Table 3 shows the history of electricity generation and Table 4 the energy related ratios. Currently, about 90% of France’s electricity comes from nuclear and renewable sources, while the remaining 10% mainly comes from fossil fuels. Electricity demand remains stable with GDP increases and energy efficiency.
TABLE 3. ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION AND CAPACITY
|Capacity of electric plants (GW(e))|
|- Other renewable||0.25||7.90||7.90||10.60||11,6|
|Electricity production (TWh)||2000||2010||2015||2018||2019*|
|- Other renewable||0.6||5.4||15.3||19.9||21.5|
|- Total **||540.0||569.1||546.0||548.6||537,7|
|Total electricity consumption (TWh)||410.4||471.8||475.4||474.0||473|
Note: n.a.: data not applicable.
* Latest available data.
** Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.
Source: RTE (bilan électrique 2019).
TABLE 4. ENERGY RELATED RATIOS
|Energy consumption per capita (GJ/capita)||114.5||105.7||95.6||95.7|
|Electricity consumption per capita (kWh/capita)||6737.0||7255.0||6618.0||6614.0|
|Electricity production/Energy production (%)||36.0||36.0||36.0||36.0|
|Nuclear/Total electricity (%)||76.9||75.3||77.0||71.7|
|Ratio of external dependency (%) **||53.0||50.0||47.0||n.a.|
Note: n.a.: data not applicable.
* Latest available data.
**Net import/Total energy consumption.
Source: IEA, Enerdata, Bilan énergétique de la France métropolitaine 2017, données provisoires (Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition).
2. NUCLEAR POWER SITUATION
2.1. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT AND CURRENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Historically, the development of nuclear power is categorized into four phases. First, during the 1960s, in line with the overall target of industrial independence and domestic technological development, various reactor designs were promoted (mainly natural uranium graphite gas cooled reactors and fast breeders). However, a pressurized water reactor (PWR) unit (Chooz-A) was built jointly with a Belgian consortium and a heavy water reactor was built in Brittany (Brennilis).
In the late 1960s, international developments in the nuclear industry led to the recognition that French reactor designs could not compete with expanding light water reactor (LWR) technologies. In 1969, the decision was made to build LWRs under licence, while restructuring domestic nuclear industries to improve international competitiveness. Subsequently, the Government of France planned a construction programme of one or two PWRs per year.
In the second phase, from 1974 to 1981, a design by Westinghouse (a former US firm) was emphasized for the development of a new French standard. At this time, the nuclear programme was revved up during the oil crisis in the 1970s. Over time, the unit capacity of France’s reactors increased from 900 MW(e) to 1300 MW(e) and later to 1450 MW(e). France developed and implemented, in parallel with the nuclear power plant programme, a strong domestic fuel cycle industry, built upon the infrastructure originally established by the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
In the third phase, in 1981, Framatome terminated its licence with Westinghouse and negotiated a new agreement, giving greater autonomy to the domestic industry. Framatome developed a wide range of servicing expertise and capabilities in reactor operation and maintenance services. In the same year, France adapted its energy policy to lower than expected economic growth, alongside frequent overcapacity in the national electricity supply system. The achievement of the 1450 MW(e) N4 model was a landmark for the design of a totally autonomous French reactor.
In the fourth phase, a new period started in 2000 when Framatome merged its nuclear activities with those of Siemens (Germany). This resulted in Framatome Advanced Nuclear Power, which was integrated into the AREVA group and subsequently renamed AREVA NP (Nuclear Power); its shares were held by AREVA (66%) and Siemens (34%). Between 2000 and 2010, the construction of four 1600 MW EPRs, based on a design by AREVA NP, was launched in Olkiluoto (Finland), Taishan (China) and Flamanville (France). Despite those projects, the French nuclear industry, and especially the leading companies EDF and AREVA, have encountered some challenges in the context of falling electricity prices and a slumping uranium market following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.
In June 2015, key decisions were made to give new momentum to the French nuclear industry:
EDF and AREVA were to join forces for reactor design in a dedicated company, with EDF becoming the industrial leader in this area.
Fuel cycle activities would become the primary activities for AREVA.
AREVA would be recapitalized by the Government of France.
A stringent performance plan would be launched for improved management of AREVA and its employees.
The European Commission approved the recapitalization of AREVA NewCo by the Government of France in January 2017, in addition to the takeover of AREVA NP by EDF in May 2017.
In July 2017, the Government of France completed the purchase of 2 billion euros worth of additional shares in AREVA S.A. and an additional 2.5 billion euros of equity in NewCo, the company’s fuel cycle business. New NP, AREVA’s reactor business, was sold to French state-controlled utility EDF. Liabilities from completing Olkiluoto-3 and issues surrounding the fabrication of reactor materials remained with AREVA S.A..
In October 2017, the ASN gave its final decision regarding the carbon migration issue on the Flamanville reactor vessel:
The pressure vessel, including its closure head, is qualified for plant startup.
EDF will have to implement additional periodic inspections to ensure that no flaws appear subsequently.
The closure head will have to be changed by the end of 2024.
With this green light from the ASN, the restructuring process continued and, in December 2017, EDF became the majority shareholder of New NP, with 75.5% of the capital, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Assystem hold stakes of 19.5% and 5%, respectively. In January 2018, New NP announced that it had officially changed its name back to Framatome, the name previously held by the French reactor company prior to its merger with Cogema in 2001. The newly ‘re-created’ Framatome includes most of the reactor business formerly owned by AREVA except for the contracts for the Olkiluoto EPR in Finland and certain contracts related to the Le Creusot forge facility. The new company also includes the former AREVA’s fuel fabrication business.
In addition, in January 2018, NewCo was renamed Orano and in February 2018, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd officially became shareholders of Orano (each having a stake of 5%).
2.1.2. Current organizational structure
Roles and responsibilities in the nuclear power programme organizational chart are as follows:
General Directorate for Risk Prevention (DGPR);
Other ministries (Foreign Affairs, Economy and Defense);
Independent nuclear authority: ASN.
Expert institution/technical support organization: Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN);
Research and development: CEA; CEA also actively participates in nuclear foreign policy. As an example, the French representative in the IAEA Board of Governors belongs to the CEA.
Operator of nuclear power plants: EDF;
Designer and supplier of nuclear steam supply systems and nuclear equipment, services and fuel: Framatome;
Development of Codes for design and manufacturing of nuclear power plants equipment: AFCEN,
Development of industrial standards in the field of nuclear energy: BNEN,
Fuel cycle industry, including engineering and services: Orano Cycle;
Mining: Orano Mining;
Conversion: Philippe Coste;
Enrichment: Georges Besse II;
Fuel manufacturing: Framatome (uranium oxide — Franco-Belgian Fuel Fabrication Company), Orano cycle (mixed oxide (MOX) — Melox);
Reprocessing and nuclear packaging, transportation and interim storage: Orano;
Decommissioning, dismantling and nuclear waste management: Orano Cycle;
Radioactive waste management (R&D and disposal): National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ANDRA).
2.2. NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS: OVERVIEW
2.2.1. Status and performance of nuclear power plants
After the Fessenheim closure in 2020 (two 900 Mwe units), nuclear power in France’s electricity supply system amounts to 61 370 MW(e). It consists of 56 PWRs (32 reactors at 900 MW(e), 20 reactors at 1300 MW(e), and 4 reactors at 1450 MW(e)) (Fig. 1 and Table 5). One EPR reactor is also under construction at the Flamanville site for which EDF is the project engineering leader and operator. France's nuclear safety regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), has told EDF that eight welds in the main steam transfer pipes that penetrate the two walls of the containment of the Flamanville EPR reactor must be repaired before the reactor is commissioned. As a consequence, the start-up is postponed to the end 2022. All EDF NPPs undergo a systematic feedback process and a comprehensive periodic safety reassessment process every ten years, under the scrutiny of the ASN. This enables assessment of compliance with the licensing basis and up to date safety standards and implementation of improvements, if necessary, in order to sustain the EDF’s long term operation programme. After the Fukushima Daiichi accident in 2011, a complementary safety assessment was performed, which confirmed current levels of safety with adequate margins regarding external hazards (earthquake, flooding, etc.) and resulted in additional provisions to cope with extreme hazards (fast task force, implementation of a hardened safety core, etc.). This process is described in detail in the reports presented at the meetings of the Nuclear Safety Convention (published on the ASN web site).
In 2019, nuclear power plants accounted for 379.5 TWh or over 70% of total electricity generation in France. France is the world’s second largest nuclear power producer.
FIG. 1. Map of France’s nuclear facilities (source: EDF, CEA).
TABLE 5. STATUS AND PERFORMANCE OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|ST. LAURENT B-1||PWR||915||Operational||EDF||FRAM||1976-05-01||1981-01-04||1981-01-21||1983-08-01||71.4|
|ST. LAURENT B-2||PWR||915||Operational||EDF||FRAM||1976-07-01||1981-05-12||1981-06-01||1983-08-01||65.3|
|CHINON A-1||GCR||70||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||LEVIVIER||1957-02-01||1962-09-16||1963-06-14||1964-02-01||1973-04-16|
|CHINON A-2||GCR||180||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||LEVIVIER||1959-08-01||1964-08-17||1965-02-24||1965-02-24||1985-06-14|
|CHINON A-3||GCR||360||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||GTM||1961-03-01||1966-03-01||1966-08-04||1966-08-04||1990-06-15|
|CHOOZ-A (ARDENNES)||PWR||305||Permanent Shutdown||SENA||A/F/W||1962-01-01||1966-10-18||1967-04-03||1967-04-15||1991-10-30|
|EL-4 (MONTS D'ARREE)||HWGCR||70||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||GAAA||1962-07-01||1966-12-23||1967-07-09||1968-06-01||1985-07-31|
|G-2 (MARCOULE)||GCR||39||Permanent Shutdown||COGEMA||SACM||1955-03-01||1958-07-21||1959-04-22||1959-04-22||1980-02-02|
|G-3 (MARCOULE)||GCR||40||Permanent Shutdown||COGEMA||SACM||1956-03-01||1959-06-11||1960-04-04||1960-04-04||1984-06-20|
|ST. LAURENT A-1||GCR||390||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||FRAM||1963-10-01||1969-01-07||1969-03-14||1969-06-01||1990-04-18|
|ST. LAURENT A-2||GCR||465||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||FRAM||1966-01-01||1971-07-04||1971-08-09||1971-11-01||1992-05-27|
|Data source: IAEA - Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).|
|Note: Table is completely generated from PRIS data to reflect the latest available information and may be more up to date than the text of the report.|
Note: n.a.: data not applicable.
Source: EDF and IAEA Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).
2.2.2. Plant upgrading, plant life management and licence renewals
Completed studies and work regarding nuclear power plants’ technical capacities provide assurance of their capability to operate for at least 50 years; this is a figure also confirmed by an international benchmark, such as those set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). At the end of its fourth 10 year inspection, the 900 MW PWR series (except for Fessenheim) will have reached a level of safety that is both as close as possible to the EPR reactor safety level and one of the highest worldwide. Extending the nuclear reactors’ operating lifetimes also offers higher profitability, with nuclear power costs remaining competitive in relation to other types of power generation (see Section 2.3.3).
Extending the lifetime of current NPPs will be discussed further in the coming years.
2.2.3. Permanent shutdown and decommissioning process
In January 2019, 35 basic nuclear installations (BNIs) of all types (power plants, research reactors, laboratories, fuel reprocessing installations, waste treatment facilities, etc.) were already shut down or undergoing decommissioning in France:
21 BNIs had obtained a decommissioning decree (among which 9 EDF first generation NPPs already shut down are included).
11 decommissioning files were instructed by the regulator and its technical support.
4 BNIs were waiting for delicensing.
In France, the immediate decommissioning strategy remains the major national principle of the nuclear decommissioning and waste treatment policy. This principle is set by Article L.593-25 of the Environmental Code. It is enshrined and strengthened by several decrees and guides which constitute the legal regulatory framework of nuclear decommissioning operations being conducted in France:
The 2006 Act on Transparency and Security in the Nuclear Field No. 2006-686, dated 13 June 2006, is now codified in the Environmental Code.
The 2015 Act on the Energy Transition No. 2015-992, dated 17 August 2015, is now codified in the Environmental Code.
The decommissioning process regulated by decree No. 2007-1557 dated 2 November 2007 was codified in the Environmental Code on 1 April 2019. It requires that the permanent shutdown and the decommissioning be licensed by a specific decree.
A set of guides reinforces France’s legal and regulatory framework on decommissioning:
Guide No. 6, on decommissioning, and the associated appendix, gives the list of documents to be provided by the operator for decommissioning/dismantling throughout the life cycle of the installation (updates of the decommissioning plan in particular).
Guide No. 14, is about clean-up methodology for structures of basic nuclear installations.
Guide No. 23, on the establishment of and changes to the waste zoning plan provides the prerequisites for clean-up operations for BNI. The waste zoning plan of the facility separates areas into those in which waste products that are contaminated or activated may be found and waste zones that are non-radioactive, called ‘conventional’.
Guide No. 24, on the management of polluted soils by BNI activities, has been published to support the principle that the operator must go as far as reasonably possible with the methods and remediation techniques under acceptable economic conditions.
All stakeholders (operators, regulators, private entities/counterparts) are also asked to contribute and be involved in defining the national policy throughout the delivery of the French National Plan for the Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste (PNGMDR). The latest version of this policy was published February 2017.
Based on France’s ongoing decommissioning programme to shut down nuclear plants, as well as waste production at operating nuclear facilities, the PNGMDR is revised every three years. It serves to review existing management procedures for radioactive materials and waste, to identify the foreseeable needs for storage and disposal facilities, specify the necessary capacity of these facilities and the storage durations, and determine objectives to be met for radioactive waste for which there is yet no final management solution.
In addition to this general description of France’s regulations related to decommissioning and waste management, other considerations include the following:
Every three years, all nuclear operators in France must update and submit their respective decommissioning strategies and waste management policies to the regulator.
Nuclear operators are responsible for financing the management of their waste and the dismantling of their nuclear installations. To ensure a satisfactory safety level of decommissioning operations considering the sustainable management of radioactive materials and waste as prescribed in the 2006 Planning Act, funds have to be available on time. Each nuclear operator (EDF, Orano, CEA, ANDRA) of BNIs manages its respective funds, which stay inside the company as provisions backed by dedicated assets of sufficient security and liquidity.
TABLE 6. STATUS OF DECOMMISSIONING PROCESS OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|Reactor unit||Shutdown reason||Decommission strategy||Current decommissioning phase||Current fuel management phase||Decommissioning licensee||Licence terminated year|
|CHINON A-1||1, 2||ID||EDF|
|CHINON A-2||1, 2||ID||9||EDF||2025|
|CHINON A-3||1, 2||ID||9||EDF|
|EL-4 (MONTS D'ARREE)||1, 2||ID||9||EDF||2018|
|ST. LAURENT A-1||1, 2||ID||EDF||2027|
|ST. LAURENT A-2||1, 2||ID||EDF||2025|
Note: ID — immediate dismantling and removal of all radioactive materials.
Shutdown reason: 1 — the technology or process being used became obsolete; 2 — the process was no longer profitable.
Current decommissioning phase: 9 — final dismantling.
Current fuel management phase: 3 — storage in an on-site facility; 6 — underwater storage period.
Source: IAEA Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).
In 2018, EDF defined specific devoted automated/remote tools for cutting irradiated components such as vessel internals for Chooz-A. The Brennilis decommissioning site is also developing scenarios involving specific tools in order to prepare for reactor vessel dismantling.
In June 2017, EDF officially launched its modular real scale Industrial Decommissioning Demonstrator project. The construction of this new facility started in France in early 2019 in order to meet operational objectives by 2022. This representative decommissioning demonstrator facility (open to all partners interested in joining the project) will enable improvement of safety as well as technical and financial aspects through the following:
Checking the feasibility of decommissioning scenarios using remote handling tools;
Testing these tools on real scale representative mock-ups as well as on a 3D simulation platform;
Safely training operators to improve their efficiency or to adapt and set tools prior to real operations;
Defining, assessing and testing alternative solutions safely while facing potential unexpected situations.
The demonstrator facility will be located in Chinon, a central location that is easily accessible.
The CEA is also responsible for decommissioning research reactors and labs at the end of their lifetime.
2.3. FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR POWER
2.3.1. Nuclear power development strategy
The development strategy for nuclear power is related to the goals set forth by the ETGGA and the draft of the 2019–2028 MEP. The ETGGA will be updated in 2019 to include adjustments set in the 2019–2028 MEP.
The majority of the 58 nuclear reactors in EDF’s historic fleet have reached or will reach 40 years of operation within the next 15 years. Each reactor will then be required to pass a periodic and comprehensive safety assessment (due every 10 years of operation) to be authorized to extend its power generation activities. Given the goal to diversify the electricity mix and in relation to security of supply issues, questions about extending the operation of some of the current nuclear power plants will be raised in the coming years, as well as whether to retire some plants or build new ones.
The MEP indicates the shutdown of Fessenheim in 2020 and distributes the shutdowns of reactors that will reach 50 years of operation so that decommissioning activities can be sustainable from an economic, technical and social viewpoint. This will lead to the closure of 14 reactors (including Fessenheim) by 2035, dependent on security of supply and neighbouring countries reducing their use of coal and accelerating the decarbonization of their mix. By this date, 50% of French electricity should come from nuclear. A government consultation document released in January 2020 names Blayais, Bugey, Chinon, Cruas, Dampierre, Gravelines, and Tricastin as the plants where EDF plans to make closures to meet the government's target. The document states that a decision on early shutdowns would be made in 2023, and that following Fessenheim in 2020, the next plant closures may happen in 2025-2026.
In order to be able to take a decision on the construction of new reactors, the government will prepare a comprehensive report on the topic by mid-2021, with support from EDF.
The following events will influence the implementation of this strategy and the evolution of nuclear power in France in the future:
Evolution of power consumption and level of electricity exports driven by higher use of low carbon electricity and progress in energy efficiency;
Development of renewable energy and the capacity to sustain a low carbon energy mix;
Decisions of the ASN regarding the operation lifetime and potential lifetime extension of current power plants;
The commissioning of the Flamanville EPR reactor, and the planned shutdown of the Fessenheim power plant;
The optimization of the EPR reactor design, basis for the next fleet of nuclear reactors;
The end of the basic design phase by the CEA on the design of an advanced technological demonstrator (Astrid) for the potential implementation of fourth generation sodium cooled fast reactors.
Along with this development strategy, France has a policy of nuclear fuel management focused on the recycling of uranium oxide spent fuel into MOX fuel, currently used in 22 reactors with a capacity of 900 MW(e). The MEP also reaffirms France’s commitment to the full closed fuel cycle strategy as a long term objective and asks for the development of studies on the possible deployment of nuclear fuel multi-recycling in PWR reactors.
For radioactive waste management, different solutions are outlined in the PNGMDR. In particular, very low level waste and low and intermediate level short lived waste are stored in repository sites. A deep geological repository project (CIGEO) for high and intermediate level long lived waste is currently under way.
2.3.2. Project management
The main projects that are ongoing are managed by the relevant actors:
CEA for the Jules Horowitz Reactor (JHR) (see Section 2.8.2) and the research programme on fourth generation reactors;
ANDRA for CIGEO;
EDF for the Flamanville EPR reactor, ‘Grand Carénage’ (see Section 2.3.3) and the export projects.
2.3.3. Project funding
From 2014 to 2025, significant maintenance operations on France’s nuclear fleet are planned in order to secure the best conditions of nuclear safety (including integration of post-Fukushima modifications) and improve on environmental safety and protection. The ‘Grand Carénage’ industrial programme for long term operation aims to involve the nuclear power sector in the short term in refurbishing the entire nuclear fleet, while enhancing reactor safety, for €45.6 billion (2016 rate).
This programme covers both normal maintenance investments and investments relating to the project (replacement of some key elements like steam generators).
In the short term, EDF aims to complete major industrial projects, such as the Flamanville-3 EPR reactor, representing €10.9 billion of investments to date.
JHR and the research programme on fourth generation reactors are funded partly by state subsidies and large investment programmes, such as the Programme d’Investissements d’Avenir. The CIGEO project is also supported by subsidies, as well as local taxes coming from waste management and storage.
The comprehensive report to support the decision to build new nuclear reactors will include a chapter on the financial model.
2.3.4. Electric grid development
No additional information provided.
See Section 2.2.1.
2.3.6. Public awareness
Society continues to call for more dialogue and public communication in regard to projects that may impact the environment. The EDF group organizes and engages in transparent and inclusive dialogue during the lifetime of its NPPs and consultation for each new project, all while observing the best international standards.
The challenge is to facilitate systematic dialogue and consultation in proportion to the implications of related projects, including practices to do the following:
Initiate consultation early;
Provide stakeholders with transparent access to clear information on the project;
Gather opinions and deal with suggestions and complaints;
Encourage the participation of local residents in the consultation process.
For the revision of the MEP, a public debate took place over three months to allow citizens access to reliable and comprehensive information about the energy policy in the coming years and to offer contributions to the general discussion among all the stakeholders.
2.4. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF NPPs
France’s nuclear industry is a key economic sector, which represents 6.7% of the job market (220 000 people) for 2 600 companies and a turnover of €50 billion per year. The following major companies, in particular, are involved in the construction of nuclear power plants:
Reactor engineering: EDF, Framatome and Edvance;
Civil engineering: Bouygues, Vinci, Eiffage;
Heavy components (reactor pressure vessels, pressurizers, reactor coolant pumps, and steam generators): Framatome;
Turbines and alternators: GE Power;
Components of the cooling–heating system: Vallourec, Velan;
Instrumentation and control systems: Framatome
Maintenance: Endel, Onet, Clemessy, Spie, Framatome.
The construction of a new nuclear reactor follows a specific regulatory procedure; first, the project developer submits a request to the ASN for the creation of a nuclear facility, as defined by the law on Transparency and Security in the Nuclear Field (2006) and the act related to nuclear facilities and the control of the transport of radioactive matter, in terms of safety issues (2007). However, prior to this request (referred to as a DAC), a public debate has to be carried out and launched by the dedicated commission and authority. This debate allows anyone to give opinions on the project. A report containing potential modifications to the project is then published. In addition, another report containing the safety options for the new reactor is submitted to the ASN for assessment.
Once the public debate has taken place, the project developer may submit the DAC. The request must include a risk study, an environmental impact assessment, a preliminary safety report, a public debate report and engineering and financial plans. Over a three year period, the DAC must face different stages: a public investigation within the territories which are likely to be involved with the project (led by the prefect and the local authorities), a technical assessment by expert groups (including the IRSN), an assessment of compliance with the Euratom treaty on radioactive releases and an environmental assessment by the Ministry of Environment.
At the end of this period, the ASN can authorize or reject the creation of the new installation. If authorized, the creation of the new reactor is approved with an act signed by the prime minister. Apart from the DAC, new construction sites must also obtain any specific authorization related to the construction site (construction permit, regulations on water use, etc.).
2.5. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN THE OPERATION OF NPPs
In France, every nuclear power plant used for electricity generation is operated by EDF, the state owned utility. EDF was nationalized in 1946 along with the national coal, oil and gas companies and became a limited liability company in November 2004. In October 2005, a public service contract was signed between the Government and EDF setting forth the terms and conditions for the implementation of its public service mission. As of 2018, the State holds 83.7% of EDF’s shares and appoints EDF’s chief executive officer.
EDF operates not only nuclear power plants, but also hydropower, wind and solar power stations as well as fossil fuel fired power plants.
According to the law on the modernization and the development of the public service for electricity (implemented in 2000), any operation of a new installation generating electricity is subject to authorization by the Ministry of Energy.
During its operation, a reactor is subject to unplanned safety visits and to comprehensive periodic safety assessments every 10 years (visites décennales) conducted by the ASN.
2.6. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN THE DECOMMISSIONING OF NPPs
In July 2015, EDF created a specialized department, DP2D, to manage all its decommissioning projects and radioactive waste (see Section 2.2.3). The DP2D is directly linked to EDF’s Board of Directors, to increase reactivity in decision making and secure knowledge and skills.
The DP2D brings together all the usual required deactivation and decommissioning (D&D) skills and knowledge, from characterization to shipment and disposal, including definition of decommissioning scenarios, safety considerations and site management.
Since its creation, DP2D has also reinforced EDF’s low and medium level waste treatment capacity by investing in additional means of waste characterization and treatment (incineration/melting). In addition to reinforced engineering capability, DP2D has gathered all EDF Group waste treatment capacities in a specific holding company named Cyclife. It will therefore allow the group and its international partners/customers to minimize (at least) metallic waste volume devoted to disposal.
Following its creation, DP2D has also investigated and challenged EDF’s ongoing decommissioning programme in order to optimize and improve:
D&D costs and delays.
Mutualization of tools, processes and skills throughout its fleet.
Methods to manage uncertainties in the delivery dedicated to graphite disposal.
DP2D is also working to check decommissioning scenario feasibility and find alternative solutions, in safe conditions, in case of unexpected situations that will undoubtedly occur at the real dismantling worksite. For that specific purpose and to safely increase operators’ efficiency and ability even on the use of remote handling tools, EDF DP2D intends to build a demonstrator facility, with operations planned by 2022. The benefits of such a facility, involving innovative techniques in 3D, digitalization and remote operations, has led this decommissioning demonstrator project to be considered by several international organizations as a topic of interest for the worldwide community of operators and implementers involved in nuclear decommissioning.
Orano is also largely involved in decommissioning. End of life cycle operations (ELOs) are crucial to the group’s operating, financial and commercial performance. These activities include facility dismantling, legacy waste retrieval and packaging, and the definition and implementation of comprehensive management routes for existing and future waste. Demonstrating its unwavering commitment to sustainable nuclear power, the group implements these operations, plans for them, and sets up provisions to cover the related expenses over the long term. In accordance with the law, Orano earmarks the necessary assets to cover these provisions exclusively.
The operational and financial challenges associated with ELO are major ones for the group. Accordingly, and in view of the cross-business nature of the related activities, the Dismantling and Waste Management Division reports directly to management. It is responsible for all ELO-related projects and steers performance in the management of radioactive substances for the entire group.
2.7. FUEL CYCLE, INCLUDING WASTE MANAGEMENT
The following table lists fuel cycle activities and organizations.
|Uranium conversion||Orano Philippe Coste|
|Uranium enrichment||Orano George Besse II|
|Uranium fuel fabrication||Framatome|
|Reprocessing of radioactive waste||Orano Cycle|
|MOX fuel fabrication||Orano Cycle (Melox)|
|Interim storage of spent fuel||EDF and Orano|
|Disposal of radioactive waste||Andra|
Orano (previously AREVA NC and COGEMA) controls most of the fuel cycle industry, with the exceptions of uranium oxide fuel manufacturing (Framatome) and radioactive waste disposal, run by the independent public agency ANDRA. Orano is an industrial and commercial leader in all phases of the fuel cycle, including prospecting and running of uranium mines, conversion (Philippe Coste), enrichment (George Besse II), MOX fuel fabrication (Melox), reprocessing, waste management, nuclear transportation, packaging and interim storage.
Orano offers products, technologies and services throughout the entire nuclear fuel cycle. From raw materials to decommissioning and waste management (see Section 2.6), its activities encompass uranium mining, chemistry, enrichment, used fuel recycling, logistics, dismantling and engineering services.
Orano Mining is a uranium leader, a diversified producer operating five sites on three continents. All forms of concentrate, from all origins, are then processed into UF6 at Philippe Coste before further transformation at the Georges Besse II enrichment facility located on the same industrial platform. Orano holds a 50% interest in the Enrichment Technology Company (ETC). ETC manufactures the centrifuges used for uranium enrichment. Orano facilities at La Hague and Melox are the worldwide reference for used fuel recycling and final waste conditioning. Orano offers reliable used fuel interim storage solution and the reference in transportation solution for nuclear materials and waste.
The UOX fuel fabrication activities in France are consolidated within the Framatome company (former AREVA NP). As previously mentioned, Orano Melox manufactures MOX fuel for NPPs.
In its Romans site, Framatome manufactures uranium oxide fuel for NPPs as well as fuel elements for research reactors (done by Cerca, a subsidiary of Framatome).
Framatome is also fully integrated along the zirconium and fuel components supply chain, with several production sites in France and across Europe.
Radioactive waste management and disposal is headed by the independent public agency ANDRA.
2.8. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
2.8.1. R&D organizations
In 1945, the French government created a national agency, CEA, to oversee the development of all aspects of atomic energy, including both civil and military applications. Although its responsibilities evolved over time, particularly with the transfer of some industrial activities to newly created subsidiaries, CEA has retained most of its early activities and interests in medium and long term R&D, notably in reactor design, fuel concepts, enrichment, spent fuel reprocessing, waste management and disposal, as well as in technology transfer and fundamental research.
In 2010, CEA’s name was changed to better reflect the areas of research and development conducted for many years in the field of low carbon energy: nuclear, but also solar, hydrogen generation, fuel cells, electricity storage, housing and transport, and transformation of biomass into biofuels. CEA now refers to the ‘Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives’ (Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission) to be more inclusive of alternative and renewable energy types. In 2020, the former Nuclear Energy Division was transformed in the Energy Division, to better reflect this move towards an integrated approach of the whole energy system.
2.8.2. Development of advanced nuclear power technologies
France is a founding member of the GIF (Generation IV International Forum), where collaborative R&D explores promising technologies for future nuclear energy systems, addressing issues of enhanced safety, sustainability, non-proliferation and economics. France’s participation in GIF activities takes place through the CEA, which acts as the national implementing agent, and focuses on four of the six GIF systems: sodium fast reactors (SFRs), gas fast reactors, very high temperature reactors and molten salt reactors (MSRs). For MSR research, the national contact point is the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).
France has given priority to the development of sodium cooled fast reactor technology, on which it has already acquired substantial experience and know-how. Until the end of 2019, R&D activities in this domain took place within the Astrid demonstration project, aiming to qualify design options for a future commercial SFR that fulfils fourth generation objectives and to qualify the multiple recycling of plutonium at an industrial level, and different fuel subassemblies for plutonium burning and transmutation (in case of a future decision from the Government of France). The CEA developed this project within the framework of the French 2006 Nuclear Waste Act. Many industrial and international partners are part of the project for improved cooperation.
It is now considered that fast-neutrons reactors will not be necessary in the short and medium term, so R&D efforts on the closure of the fuel cycle, which encompass the R&D on the associated reactor technology, have been adjusted to take into account this more distant perspective. CEA will maintain a strong R&D programme on sodium cooled fast reactor technology and, for the short and medium term, focus on the development of simulation capabilities and experimental tests in existing fast-neutron reactors. However, the design of a demonstration reactor will not be pursued in the short term.
The gas cooled fast reactor is identified as the alternative long term technology. There is a greater aim to demonstrate its feasibility, and CEA is associated with a European collaborative project lead by the V4G4 consortium to pursue possible deployment in the longer term.
French nuclear R&D and industrial organizations are also involved in the European Sustainable Nuclear Energy Research Technological Platform, covering second and third generation R&D, fourth generation fast neutron technologies and industrial nuclear cogeneration.
The construction of JHR, CEA’s new experimental material testing reactor (100 MW(th)), is underway in Cadarache. Partly funded through an international consortium with 14 partners, it will be an international research tool focused on the enhancement of safety and the improvement of operation of industrial NPPs, but JHR will also be used for nuclear medicine. In particular, it will supply hospitals with short lived radioisotopes used for medical imaging or therapeutic purposes. Following new construction planning in 2018, the first load is expected to take place in 2025, with isotope production taking place 18 months later.
In June 2005, the site of Cadarache in France was officially chosen to welcome the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), and construction started in 2010. In November 2016, the ITER Council endorsed the overall project schedule, which identifies December 2025 as the earliest technically achievable date for first plasma and 2035 as the start of deuterium–tritium operation.
2.8.3. International cooperation and initiatives
France is a member of several international organizations, including the IAEA and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the OECD. It participates in other bilateral and multilateral organizations such as the World Association of Nuclear Operators, with EDF and Orano as members.
As mentioned above, France is also a founding member of the GIF, the international forum of 13 countries (in addition to Euratom) set up to carry out the R&D needed to establish the feasibility and performance capabilities of the next generation nuclear energy systems.
France also participates in the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation, an international forum for cooperation among participating states to explore mutually beneficial approaches to ensure that the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes proceeds in a manner that is efficient and meets the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation.
France participates in the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme, a multinational initiative to develop innovative approaches to leverage the resources and knowledge of the national regulatory authorities that are currently or will be tasked with the review of new nuclear power reactor designs.
2.9. HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
The National Institute for Nuclear Science and Technology (Institut national des sciences et des techniques nucléaires) was created in 1956 by the CEA under the authority of the Higher Education Ministry, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Industry. Its main mission is to transmit knowledge and know-how developed by the CEA and industrial partners, thereby supporting the growth of the nuclear industry by developing human resources required by research and industry, at any level of qualification, from operator to researcher. It supports and awards academic diplomas (e.g. master’s degrees) and engineer diplomas and welcomes PhD students, all in addition to offering continuous training for professionals. It is ISO 2001 certified and is a member of the European Nuclear Education Network.
The International Institute of Nuclear Energy is a consortium that gathers all of France’s players involved in nuclear education and training and was created in 2010. Its mission is to provide to foreign partners of France the best training solutions for education and training programmes in nuclear power and allow them to benefit from the French expertise in human capacity building.
2.10. STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT
France’s statutory stakeholders have had a long tradition of stakeholder involvement. Since 2006, common practice transitioned to become mandatory by law (see Section 2.4). The Act on Transparency and Security in the Nuclear Field establishes a local committee of information at near every nuclear plant which gathers different stakeholders (elected officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations, medical representatives, qualified persons) and guarantees that the public at large has access to relevant information. It has evolved over the years to take into account new methods of communication, namely through social media. Stakeholder involvement is considered a cornerstone of French nuclear activities, from project development through waste management and decommissioning.
2.11. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Emergency and contingency plans concerning basic nuclear installations (BNIs)
The emergency plans in case of accidents occurring in a BNI define the measures necessary to protect site personnel, the general public and the environment, and to control any potential accident.
The on-site emergency plan, prepared by the licensee, is designed to restore the plant to a safe condition and mitigate the consequences of an accident. It defines the organizational actions and the resources to be implemented on the site. It also comprises arrangements for informing the public authorities rapidly. The licensee’s obligations in terms of preparedness and management of emergency situations are determined by the Order of 7 February 2012 setting the general rules for BNIs (Title VII). These obligations will be clarified by an ASN resolution currently under preparation.
Following several stress tests in 2012, ASN prescribed the deployment of both the Nuclear Rapid Intervention Force by EDF, and the National Intervention Force by Orano. This national emergency system comprises specialized teams and equipment capable of intervening at a potential accident site within 24 hours.
The off-site emergency plan (PPI) is established by the prefect of the department concerned. According to Decree 2005-1158 on 13 September 2005:
“PPIs are established to protect the populations, property and the environment, and to cope with the specific risks associated with the existence of structures and facilities whose perimeter is localized and fixed. They implement the orientations of civil protection policy in terms of mobilization of resources, information, alert, exercises and training.”
This decree also stipulates the characteristics of the facilities or structures for which the prefect is required to define a PPI.
In 2016, the French government increased the range of the off-site emergency plans from 10 km to 20 km around NPPs, maintaining consistency with other existing emergency plans. This will allow for better preparation of the populations concerned, towns and public establishments, with schools in particular being prepared to face a potential accident or nuclear risk. In addition, stable iodine tablets are pre-distributed.
National response organization
In an emergency situation, the responsibilities of ASN, with the support of IRSN, are as follows:
To ensure steps taken by the licensee are pertinent and robust;
To advise the Government and its local representatives;
To contribute to the dissemination of information;
To act as competent authority within the framework of the international Conventions on Early Notification and Assistance.
In the event of a severe accident, an Interministerial Crisis Committee is prepared to intervene. The relevant ministries concerned, together with ASN, work together to advise both the prefect at the local level and the Government, via the committee, on protective measures to be taken. They provide the information and advice necessary to assess the state of the facility, the seriousness of the incident or accident, its possible development, and the measures required to protect the general public and the environment.
In an emergency situation, several parties have the authority to take decisions in the local response organization:
The licensee of the affected nuclear facilities deploys the response organization and the resources defined in its on-site emergency plan.
One of ASN’s duties is to monitor the licensee’s actions in terms of nuclear safety and radiation protection. In an emergency situation, aided by IRSN’s assessments, it can at any time ask the licensee to perform assessments and take the necessary actions.
The prefect of the department in which the installation is located takes the necessary decisions to protect the population, the environment and the property threatened by the accident. He or she takes action according to the PPI and the ORSEC plans. The prefect is thus responsible for coordinating the resources — both public and private, human and material — deployed in the plan. He or she keeps the population and the mayors informed of events. Through its regional division, ASN assists the prefect in drafting the plans and managing the situation.
In the event of a severe accident, a number of preventive measures can be envisaged by the prefect in order to protect the general public:
Sheltering and listening: The individuals concerned, alerted by a siren, take shelter at home or in a building, with all openings carefully closed, and wait for instructions from the prefect broadcast by radio.
Administration of stable iodine tablets: When ordered by the prefect, the individuals liable to be exposed to releases of radioactive iodine are urged to take the prescribed dose of potassium iodide tablets.
Evacuation: In the event of an imminent risk of large scale radioactive releases, the prefect may order evacuation.
The populations concerned are asked to prepare a bag of essential personal effects, secure and leave their homes and go to the nearest assembly point.
If radioactive substances are actually released into the environment, management of the post-accident phase is dependent on the zone:
A population protection zone is established within which action is required to reduce both the exposure of the population to ambient radioactivity and the consumption of contaminated food to a level that is as low as reasonably achievable.
A heightened territorial surveillance zone, which is larger and more concerned with economic management, within which specific surveillance of foodstuffs and agricultural produce will be arranged.
If necessary, an evacuation perimeter is created within the population protection zone, defined according to the ambient radioactivity (external exposure). The residents must be evacuated for a varying length of time, depending on the level of exposure in their environment.
In 2016, ASN supervised a new national distribution campaign for iodine tablets, launched for the populations located within the zone covered by the PPIs around the NPPs operated by EDF. The purpose of this distribution is to achieve overall population coverage that is as high as possible, but also to raise awareness among the population and the local authorities (mayors) regarding the potential risks and instructions to be followed as and when necessary, through specific communication media and local information meetings. Outside the zone covered by a PPI, tablets are stockpiled to cover the rest of the country.
Controlling urban development around nuclear sites
In recent years, urban development pressure in the vicinity of nuclear sites has increased. Therefore, it is important to incorporate the control of urban development into the management of the nuclear risk. ASN’s current doctrine for controlling activities around nuclear facilities only concerns those facilities requiring a PPI, and primarily aims to avoid compromising sheltering and evacuation measures. It focuses on the ‘reflex’ zones of the PPIs, or the rapid development hazard zones, in which automatic measures to protect the general public are taken in the event of a rapidly developing accident.
A guide was published in 2016 concerning the control of activities around BNIs, based on the following principles:
To preserve the operability of the contingency plans;
To favour urban development outside the rapid development hazard zone;
To allow controlled development that meets the needs of the resident population.
Learning from experience by carrying out exercises
The main aim of these nuclear and radiological emergency exercises is to test the planned response in the event of a radiological emergency in order to do the following:
Ensure that the plans are kept up to date, that they are well known to those in charge and to the participants at all levels and that the corresponding alert and coordination procedures are effective;
Train those who would be involved in such a situation;
Implement the various organizational aspects and the procedures stipulated in the interministerial directives, the emergency response plans, the local safeguard plans and the various conventions;
Develop a general public information approach so that everyone can make a more effective contribution to civil protection.
These exercises, which are the subject of an annual interministerial circular, involve the licensee, the ministries, the offices of the prefect and services of the departments, ASN, ASND (Defense nuclear regulator), IRSN and Météo-France. They aim to test the effectiveness of the provisions made for assessing the situation, bringing the installation or the package to a safe condition, taking appropriate measures to protect the general public and ensuring satisfactory communication with the media and the populations concerned. At the same time, the exercises are a mean for testing the arrangements for alerting the national and international organizations.
The performance of a national nuclear and radiological emergency exercise, at maximum intervals of five years on the nuclear sites covered by a PPI, would seem to be a fair compromise between the training of individuals and the time needed to effect changes to organizations.
The exercises enable those involved to build on knowledge and experience in the management of emergency situations, in particular for the 300 or so persons mobilized in the field for each exercise.
For 2015 and 2016, the objectives chosen concerning the national nuclear or radiological emergency exercises were the following:
Testing of international relations;
Setting up an organization to simulate the Government level;
Carrying out exercises in real meteorological conditions whenever possible;
Carrying out exercise scenarios for which the writers are given as few restrictions as possible;
Testing the response plan for a major nuclear or radiological accident for its effectiveness.
With regard to nuclear safety aspects, the objectives were the following:
Continue to train experts with a focus on technical aspects;
Carry out a safety exercise with a malicious initiating event;
Carry out an exercise involving several installations on the same site;
Carry out an exercise requiring ASN to issue an official resolution;
Bring in the licensees’ national intervention forces as stipulated by the statutory resolutions.
With regard to civil security aspects, the objectives were as follows:
Develop ties, on the occasion of the exercises, between the authorities of the prefect and the local authorities;
Promote greater anticipation of civil protection measures to ensure protection of the population;
Implement and coordinate thematic workshops separate from the technical scenario.
The exercises, as well as the real situations that occurred, demonstrated the importance of communication in an emergency situation, in particular to inform the public and foreign regulators sufficiently early and avoid the spread of rumours, whether in France or abroad.
Evaluation meetings are organized immediately after each exercise in each emergency centre and at ASN a few weeks after the exercise.
3. NATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS
3.1. REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
3.1.1. Regulatory authority(ies)
Nuclear legislation in France was developed in successive stages alongside technological advances and growth in the atomic energy field. Therefore, many of the enactments governing nuclear activities are to be found in the general French legislation on environmental protection, water supply, atmospheric pollution, public health and labour.
However, the French Parliament also adopted a number of specific enactments. Examples include Act No. 68-493 (30 October 1968), now embodied in the Environmental Code, setting special rules as to third party liability in the field of nuclear energy, which is distinct from the ordinary French law on third party liability; Act No. 91-1381 on the management of nuclear waste and Act No. 2006-686 on transparency and security, adopted in 2006, now mostly embodied in the Environmental Code.
Although French nuclear law is characterized by its variety of sources, as in other countries with nuclear energy capacities, the original features of this legislation derive chiefly from international recommendations or regulations. For example, radiation protection standards are derived from the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection and directives issued by the European Atomic Energy Community or Euratom (formerly the European Community). Likewise, the French provisions on the liability of nuclear operators are directly derived from the Paris Convention of 29 July 1960.
French nuclear legislation began to develop from the time the CEA no longer held a monopoly over nuclear activities and when new nuclear operators entered the industrial stage. This development passed several landmarks: an authorization requirement for major nuclear installations was introduced, setting Government responsibility in matters of population and occupational safety (Decree of 11 December 1963). Prior to this, procedures concerning the licensing and control of industrial activities were dealt with by the prefect for each department. In 1973, this system was expanded to cover the development of the nuclear power programme, and better define the role of Government authorities. Finally, the decree of 20 June 1966 included Euratom directives as part of the French radiation protection regulations.
In June 2006, Act No. 2006-686 on transparency and security created the ASN. It is an independent administrative agency headed by five members designated by the President of the Republic and the presidents of the two parliamentary assemblies. The agency is consulted before decisions concerning nuclear safety, nuclear security and radioprotection are taken by decrees. It can also complete the legislation on technical matters, but its decisions may be approved by the ministers in charge of these questions. The ASN is also responsible for the following:
Organizing and directing the control of nuclear installations (designation of inspectors, delivery of permits, etc.);
Monitoring radioprotection over national territory;
Proposing and organizing public information, especially on nuclear safety;
Establishing the procedures for licensing large nuclear installations (licences for setting up, commissioning, disposal, shutdown, etc.);
Helping manage the emergency situation in the event of an accident involving radioactive exposure.
Act No. 2006-686 on transparency and security also clarified the responsibilities of the Government and the ASN in the fields of nuclear safety and radiation protection. The Government makes the general regulations in terms of nuclear safety and radioprotection, such as BNI nomenclature decrees, BNI procedural decrees or BNI orders (embodied in the Environmental Code since 1 April 2019), but also specific creation authorization decrees, significant modification decrees or decrees for definitive shutdown and dismantlement of BNIs.
The body with these responsibilities in the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition is the Mission for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection.
3.1.2. Licensing process
First, the Government commissions the ASN to examine requests for permission to create or decommission nuclear installations, start a new reactor, extend its lifetime, use MOX fuel, and so on. The ASN makes recommendations to the Government on the decrees in these areas. After this obligatory step, if the opinion is favourable, the Government concludes with the publication of the relevant decree, formalizing authorization.
3.2. NATIONAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS IN NUCLEAR POWER
Ministry for an Ecological Transition (MTE)
General Directorate for Energy and Climate (DGEC).
DGPR/Mission for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection.
Decree No. 2008-680 of 9 July 2008, as amended, on the organization of the central administration of the Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Territorial Planning.
Ordinance of 9 July 2008, as amended, on the organization of the central administration of the Ministry of Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development and Territorial Planning.
Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission — Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA)
Code of Research, Legislative Part, Book III, Title III, Chapter II: Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives — Articles L. 332-1 to L. 332-7 (Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission).
Act No. 2010-237 of 9 March 2010: New name for the CEA, as Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission).
Decree No. 2016-311 of 17 March 2016, as amended, on the organization and functioning of the CEA.
Nuclear Safety Authority — Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN)
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter II: The Nuclear Safety Authority and the Institute for radiation protection and nuclear safety —Articles L. 592-1 to L. 592-49 (provisions from Law No. 2006-686 of 13 June 2006 on nuclear transparency and safety).
Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter II: The Nuclear Safety Authority and the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety — Articles R. 592-1 to R. 592-38.
Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety — Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire (IRSN)
Act No. 2001-398 of 9 May 2001 establishing the French environmental safety agency (Article 5 creating the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety).
Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter II: The Nuclear Safety Authority and the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety —Articles R. 592-39 to R. 592-61.
National Radioactive Waste Management Agency — Agence nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs (ANDRA)
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title IV, Chapter II, Article L. 542-12.
Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title IV, Chapter II, Section 1 — Articles R. 542-1 to R. 542-19.
Organization in the field of defence
Defence Code, Regulatory Part, Part 1, Book III, Title III, Chapter III, Section 2 bis: The Delegate for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection for National Defence Installations and Activities (DSND) — Articles R.* 1333-67-5 to R.* 1333-67-10.
Defence Code, Regulatory Part, Part 1, Book I, Title III, Chapter II, Section 1: The General Secretary for National Defence and Security (SGDSN) — Articles R.* 1132-1 to D. 1132-7.
Defence Code, Regulatory Part, Part 1, Book III, Title III, Chapter III, Section 3: The Interministerial Committee for Nuclear or Radiological crisis — Article D. 1333-68 and D. 1333-69.
Decree No. 2009-1180 of 5 October 2009 determining the competence and the organization of the General Delegation for Armament (DGA).
Regulatory provisions for nuclear installations
Basic nuclear installations (installations nucléaires de base — INB)
Order No. 2016-128 of 10 February 2016 concerning various provisions in the field of nuclear energy.
Act No. 2015-992 of 17 August 2015 concerning the energy transition for green growth.
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter III: The basic nuclear installations — Articles L. 593-1 to L. 596-14.
Decree No. 2007-830 of 11 May 2007 on the nomenclature of basic nuclear installations embodied in the Environmental Code Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter III: The basic nuclear installations – Articles R. 593-1 à R. 593-4.
Decree No. 2007-1557 of 2 November 2007 concerning basic nuclear installations and the supervision of the transport of radioactive materials with respect to nuclear safety now embodied in the Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter III: The basic nuclear installations — Articles R. 593-5 à R. 593-123.
Decree No. 2016-846 of 28 June 2016 related to the modification, final shutdown and decommissioning of basic nuclear installations, and to subcontracting now embodied in the Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter III: The basic nuclear installations — Articles R. 593-5 à R. 593-123.
Ministerial order of 7 February 2012 laying down general rules for the basic nuclear installations.
Installations classified on environmental protection grounds (installations classées pour la protection de l’environnement — ICPE)
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title I: The installations classified on environmental protection grounds — Articles L. 511-1 to L. 517-2.
Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title I: The installations classified on environmental protection grounds — Articles R. 511-9 to R. 517-10.
Electricity public utility
Energy Code, Legislative Part, Book III: Provisions on electricity — Articles L. 311-1 to L. 362-5.
Regulatory regime for nuclear pressure equipment
Order of December 30, 2015, so-called “ESPN Order”, pertaining to nuclear pressure equipment, setting essential requirements for their design, manufacturing and operation. Some essential requirements for nuclear pressure equipment and for devices ensuring over-pressure protection were modified with the enactment of Order of September 3, 2018.
Order of November 10, 1999, relating to in-service surveillance of the primary circuit and of the main secondary circuit of pressurized water reactors was also modified by Order of September 3, 2018. It defines the limits for operation and the requirements for the surveillance in operation of the primary and main secondary circuits.
The above 2 main orders are supplemented with:
Order of June 22, 2012 dealing with the use of replacement items for the primary circuit and for the main secondary circuit of pressurized water reactors,
Order of November 10, 2016, dealing with conformity of nuclear pressure equipment.
Protection of public and environment
Public Health Code, Legislative Part, Part I, Book III, Title III, Chapter III: Ionizing radiation — Articles L. 1333-1 to L. 1333-32.
Public Health Code, Regulatory Part, Part I, Book III, Title III, Chapter III: Ionizing radiation — Articles R. 1333-1 to R. 1333-175.
Ministerial Order of 27 June 2005 related to the national network for collection of environment radioactivity measurements.
Protection of workers
Labour Code, Legislative Part, Part IV, Book IV, Title V, Chapter I: Prevention of risks of exposure to ionizing radiation — Articles L. 4451-1 and L. 4451-4.
Labour Code, Regulatory Part, Part IV, Book IV, Title V, Chapter I: Prevention of risks of exposure to ionizing radiation — Articles R. 4451-1 to R. 4451-135.
Decree No. 75-306 of 28 April 1975, as amended, relating to protection of workers in basic nuclear installations now embodied in the Labour Code, Regulatory Part, Part IV, Book IV, Title V, Chapter I: Prevention of risks of exposure to ionizing radiation — Articles R. 4451-85 à R. 4451-88.
Public Health Code, Regulatory Part, Part I, Book III, Title III, Chapter III, Section 6: Radiological emergency and long term exposure to ionizing radiation — Articles R. 1333-81 to R. 1333-103.
Ministerial Order of 20 December 2002 establishing the national reference guide on radiological hazards.
Ministerial Order of 20 November 2009 approving decision No. 2009-DC-0153 of the Nuclear Safety Authority of 18 August 2009 on Intervention Levels in Case of a Radiological Emergency.
Interministerial Instruction of 7 April 2005 on the actions of the administration in case of an event leading to a radiological emergency situation.
Ministerial Order of 4 November 2005 relating to informing the public in case of a radiological emergency situation.
Interministerial Instruction of 29 November 2005 on the implementation and processing of measurements of radioactivity in the environment in case of an event leading to a radiological emergency situation.
Regulatory regime for radioactive materials
Defense Code, Legislative Part, Part I, Book II, Title III, Chapter III: Nuclear materials and installations — Articles L. 1333-1 to L. 1333-20.
Defense Code, Regulatory Part, Part I, Book II, Title III, Chapter III: Nuclear materials and installations — Articles R. 1333-1 to R. 1333-79.
Interministerial Instruction of 28 March 1977 instituting the assistance regime for uranium prospecting.
Ministerial Order of 24 September 1996 setting the conditions for the assignment of nuclear materials to military use.
Ministerial Order of 26 January 2004 concerning protection of national defense secrecy in the field of protection and control of nuclear materials, implementing decree No. 98-608 of 17 July 1998 concerning protection of national defense secrecy.
Circular of 26 January 2004 implementing Ministerial Order of 26 January 2004 concerning protection of national defense secrecy in the field of protection and control of nuclear materials.
Ministerial Order of 18 August 2010 concerning the protection and control of nuclear materials during transport.
Ministerial Order of 31 May 2011 concerning monitoring, accounting and physical protection measures applicable to nuclear material subject to a declaration as well as the form and terms of the declaration.
Ministerial Order of 9 June 2011 laying down the conditions for implementation of the physical monitoring and accounting of nuclear materials whose detention is subject to a licence.
Ministerial Order of 10 June 2011 concerning the physical protection of the installations housing nuclear materials whose detention is subject to a licence.
Ministerial Order of 5 August 2011 concerning the terms and form of the licence required by Article L. 1333-2 of the Defense Code.
Ministerial Order of 29 November 2019 concerning the protection of radioactive sources from categories A, B, C and D against malicious acts.
Radioactive waste management
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title IV, Chapter II: Specific provisions for the Sustainable Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste — Articles L. 542-1 to L. 542-14.
Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title IV, Chapter II: Specific provisions for the Sustainable Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste — Articles R. 542-1 to D. 542-96.
Act No. 2000-174 of 4 March 2000 authorizing the approval of the Joint Convention on the safety of spent fuel management and on the safety of radioactive waste management.
Act No. 2006-739 of 28 June 2006, as amended, concerning the Sustainable Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste (partly embodied in the Environmental Code).
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title IV, Chapter II: Specific provisions for the Sustainable Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste — Articles R. 542-1 to R. 542-73.
Decree of 3 August 1999, as amended, licensing ANDRA to implement and operate an underground laboratory on the territory of Bure to study deep geological formations in which radioactive waste could be stored.
Civil liability in the field of nuclear energy
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter VII: Provisions applicable to Civil Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy — Articles L. 597-1 to L. 597-46.
Act No. 68-943 of 30 October 1968 concerning nuclear civil liability.
Decree No. 69-154 of 6 February 1969 related to the publication of the Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy of 29 July 1960, as amended by the Additional Protocol of 28 January 1964 and by the Protocol of 16 November 1982 (Paris Convention).
Decree No. 94-308 of 14 April 1994 related to the publication of the Convention of 31 January 1963 Supplementary to the Paris Convention of 29 July 1960, as amended by the additional Protocol of 28 January 1964 and by the Protocol of 16 November 1982 (Brussels Convention).
Decree No. 2016-333 of 21 March 2016 implementing Article L. 597-28 of the French Environmental Code and relating to third party liability in the field of nuclear energy.
Ministerial Order of 19 August 2016, as amended, listing the sites benefitting from a reduced amount of liability pursuant to decree No. 2016-333 of 21 March 2016 implementing Article L. 597-28 of the French Environmental Code and relating to third party liability in the field of nuclear energy.
Insurance Code, Legislative Part, Book IV, Title III, Chapter I: Extraordinary and nuclear risks — Articles L. 431-4 to L. 431-7.
Insurance Code, Regulatory Part, Book IV, Title III, Chapter I: Extraordinary and nuclear risks — Articles R. 431-27 to R. 431-29.
Nuclear test ban
Law No. 98-217 of 27 March 1998 authorizing the ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
ASN, French Nuclear Safety Authority.
CEA, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.
EDF, Reference Document 2017 Annual Financial Report.
International Energy Agency.
Ministry of Ecological and Inclusive Transition, DGEC (General Directorate for Energy and Climate).
Appendix 1: International, multilateral and bilateral agreements
AGREEMENTS WITH THE IAEA
OTHER MULTILATERAL SAFEGUARDS AGREEMENTS WITH IAEA
MAIN INTERNATIONAL TREATIES
Appendix 2: Main organizations, institutions and companies involved in nuclear power related activities
|Direction Générale de l’Energie et du Climat (DGEC), MTE||Elabore et met en œuvre la politique énergétique de la France |
Tutelle de l’ANDRA, d’ORANO, du CEA, d’EDF et de l’IRSN
1 place Carpeaux
F-92055 la Défense Cedex
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 40 81 21 22
|Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN)||Contrôle de la sûreté nucléaire et de la radioprotection en France||15, rue Louis Lejeune|
92541 Montrouge Cedex
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 46 16 40 00 or
+33 (0)1 45 16 40 16
|Agence Nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs (ANDRA)||Gestion des déchets radioactifs produits en France||Parc de la Croix-Blanche|
1/7, rue Jean Monnet
F-92298 Chatenay-Malabry Cedex
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 46 11 80 00
Fax: (+33 0) 1 46 11 82 68
|Bureau de Normalisation d’Equipements Nucléaires|
|Standards Development Organization||C/O EDF LAB|
6 quai Watier
Tél. : 33 (0)1 30 83 73 92
|Électricité de France |
Exploitation des réacteurs nucléaires français
|22/30, avenue Wagram|
F-75382 Paris Cedex 08
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 40 42 22 22
Fax: (+33 0) 1 40 42 13 32
|Orano ||Cycle du combustible nucléaire||CHATILLON - PRISME|
125 Avenue de Paris
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 34 96 00 00
Fax: (+33 0) 1 34 96 00 01
|Framatome||Conception, fabrication et maintenance des réacteurs nucléaires||Tour AREVA|
1, place Jean Millier
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 34 96 60 10
|Organizations involved in research|
|Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives (CEA)||Etablissement public de recherche||Saclay|
91191 Gif sur Yvette
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 69 08 60 00
Bâtiment le Ponant D
25 rue Leblanc
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 64 50 20 59
|Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS)||Organisme public de recherche||www.cnrs.fr/|
|ITER Organization||Recherche sur la fusion nucléaire||Route de Vinon-sur-Verdon,CS 90 046 |
13067 St. Paul-lez-Durance (France)
Tel: (+33 0) 4 42 17 68 88
|Agence pour l’Energie Nucléaire (AEN)||Agence spécialisée de l'Organisation de Coopération et Développement Economique (OCDE) ||46 quai Alphonse Gallo|
92 100 Boulogne-Billancourt
|Société Française de l’Energie Nucléaire|
|Association scientifique||103 rue Réaumur|
Tél. : 33 (0)1 53 58 32 10
Fax : 33 (0)1 53 58 32 11
|Institut National des sciences et techniques nucléaires||Formation||Centre CEA de Saclay|
|AFCEN ||Development of Codes for design and manufacturiing of equipment and fuel for NPPs||1 Place Jean Millier|
|GIFEN||Union for the French nuclear industry||5, rue de Rome |
Tél. : 33 (0)1 85 78 05 72
|Technical support organizations (TSOs)|
|Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire|
(IRSN, Nuclear Safety and Radioprotection Institute)
|Expertise et recherche sur les risques nucléaires et radiologiques||BP17 |
F-92262 Fontenay-aux-Roses Cedex
77-83, avenue du Général-De-Gaulle
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 58 35 88 88
Fax: (+33 0) 1 58 35 84 51
Name of report coordinator:
Mr Gilles Mathonnière
Bât. 524 p. 24
91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 69 08 68 59
Contributors to the report: CEA, DGEC, EDF, ORANO, FRAMATOME