(Updated June 2022)
PREAMBLE AND SUMMARY
The following report provides information on the status and development of nuclear power programs in France, including factors related to the effective planning, decision making and implementation of the nuclear power program 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.
France has 56 nuclear power reactors in operation, with two units closed in 2020 at Fessenheim (61 370 MW(e)) and one EPR reactor under construction at the Flamanville site. Nuclear power plants accounted for about 70% of total French electricity generation in 2021, and more than 92% of France's electricity comes from low carbon sources (nuclear and renewable energy). The development strategy for nuclear power is related to the goals set forth by the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act (LECTV) and the Multiannual Energy Plan (PPE), whose final version covering 2019-2028 period was published in 2020 with an update expected in 2024.
1. COUNTRY ENERGY OVERVIEW
1.1. ENERGY INFORMATION
1.1.1. Energy policy
In order to meet the major climate and energy challenges in the coming decades, France has defined ambitious national medium and long-term targets for its energy transition. They are set out in the Energy Transition Law for Green Growth (LTECV) published in 2015, complemented by the Climate Energy Law (LEC), published in 2019, with the main objectives of the shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2022, the reduction of greenhouse gas emission by 40% between 1990 and 2030 and the achievement of carbon neutrality by 2050.
Two complementary documents describe the French energy and climate strategy. On the one hand, the Multiannual Energy Plan (PPE) converts the policy energy objectives into operational roadmaps for all sources of energy. On the other hand, the National Low Carbon Strategy (SNBC) describes and makes enforceable a roadmap for France on how to steer its climate change mitigation policy by providing guidelines to enable transition in all sectors of activity. Both documents were revised after public consultation then adopted by Decree during April 2020.
The 2019-2023 plan provides for several structuring actions for the future of the nuclear sector:
Confirmation of the continuing operation of nuclear reactors beyond 40 years, subject to the safety decisions of the Nuclear Safety Authority;
Reaffirmation of the nuclear fuel processing strategy until 2040;
Launch of several work streams to define the place of nuclear power in the electricity mix by 2050;
Diversification of nuclear technologies with support for the development of small modular reactors (SMRs).
The French trajectory in terms of energy and climate policies is subject to a regularly revised framework. Work based on broad consultation has been ongoing since autumn 2021 in order to develop the French energy and climate strategies, particularly for the 2024-2028 period. Discussions in Parliament regarding a forthcoming programmatic law is scheduled for the summer 2023. This strategy would then be implemented through the update of the Multiannual Energy Plan (PPE) and the National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC), as well as the associated regulations.
In application of the 2019-2023 PPE, the national transmission system operator, RTE, published the results of its study Energy Futures 2050 in October 2021, following a process that involved all the stakeholders concerned. The RTE study has assessed six scenarios of an electricity mix; three of which include nuclear energy, three others do not and one of the latter relies exclusively on renewable energy. The main conclusions include that going completely without nuclear energy presents significant risks to the achievement of the French objective of decarbonizing the electricity mix by 2050. Building new nuclear reactors appears relevant from an economic point of view. In addition, whatever the scenarios, a massive development of renewable energy capacities is necessary by 2050.
In this context, during November 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the launch of a new program to build nuclear reactors in addition to the massive development of renewable energy to ensure French energetic independence while reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. During February 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron requested that six EPR2s (next generation European pressurized water reactors) be built in France and that studies be initiated for the construction of eight additional EPR2s. He also announced that no operating reactor be decommissioned if it still has the capacity to produce electricity efficiently, as long as the highest standards of safety are ensured.
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||2.4 TWh PCS||n.a.||25.7 GW installed||34.1 GW installed|
Source: Ministry for Energy Transition (Service of Data and Statistical Studies): Chiffres cl's de l'energie Edition 2021.
1.1.3. Energy Consumption 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 renewable energy, 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 2000 and 2020. It illustrates the end of the long-term increase of the contribution of nuclear power to the primary electricity generation to improve France's energy independence. Since 2000, domestic primary energy consumption has slightly decreased; 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
|Final Energy consumption [PJ]||2000||2005||2010||2015||2020||Compound
rate 2000-2020 (%)
|Total||6 868||7 090||6 752||6 454||5 834||-0.81|
|Coal, Lignate and Peat||255||229||197||182||116||-3.84|
|Oil||3 393||3 339||2 969||2 886||2 455||-1.61|
|Natural gas||1 320||1 441||1 379||1 181||1 145||-0.71|
|Bioenergy and Waste||375||385||488||493||475||1.19|
|Electricity||1 384||1 520||1 596||1 573||1 477||0.33|
* Energy consumption = Primary energy consumption + Net import (Import-Export) of secondary energy.
** Solid fuels include coal, lignite.
*** Including tidal.
Source: Chiffres cl's de l'Energie, Edition 2021 (Ministry for Energy 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, as well as 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 renewable energy 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) within the Ministry for Energy Transition (MTE), develops and implements public policy for energy, energy-producing raw material, and mitigation strategies for global warming and air pollution.
An Advisory Energy Council (Conseil superieur de l'energie) 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 regulation de l'energie). 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 (R'seau de transport de l'electricite) 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 lectricit de France (EDF) until 2017, when 29.9% of its capital was sold to Caisse des d pes and 20% to CNP Assurances.
The distribution system operators include Enedis (EDF subsidiary) that 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 (ASN) is an independent administrative authority in charge of ensuring the control of nuclear safety, radioprotection and transparency. It contributes to informing the citizens.
More information on the legal framework of France's power system can be found on Legifrance (Energy Code).
1.2.2. Structure of the 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 2021, installed capacities amounted to 139.1 GW in total (44.1 % nuclear, 43 % renewable energies, 12.9 % fossil fuel fired plants). The installed capacity of renewable energy units is steadily growing (in particular, solar energy, wind energy and biomass) as a result of implemented support schemes. The fossil fuel fired fleet is decreasing, owing to economic conditions and environmental policies. Since the start of commercial operation of the last reactor in 2002 (Civaux-2), only one new reactor is under construction (Flamanville-3).
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 105 970 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, more than 92% of France's electricity comes from nuclear and renewable sources, while 7.4% comes from fossil fuels. In regard to fossil fuel use, 85% is gas, 10% coal and 5% oil. Electricity demand increased in 2021 compared to 2020 (+1.7%) but didne reach its 2019 level after a decrease of 3.5% from 2019 to 2020 due to the pandemic.
TABLE 3. ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION AND CAPACITY
|Electricity production (GWh)||2000||2005||2010||2015||2020||Compound
rate 2000-2020 (%)
|Total||539 447||575 581||568 677||578 246||530 586||-0.08|
|Coal, Lignate and Peat||30 860||30 705||26 315||14 537||4 944||-8.75|
|Oil||7 165||7 925||5 521||6 673||5 609||-1.22|
|Natural gas||11 514||23 069||23 758||21 144||35 317||5.76|
|Bioenergy and Waste||3 560||5 048||6 471||8 776||11 162||5.88|
|Hydro||71 133||56 332||67 526||60 513||66 532||-0.33|
|Nuclear||415 162||451 529||428 521||437 428||353 833||-0.80|
|Wind||48||962||9 945||21 421||39 792||39.94|
|Solar||5||11||620||7 754||13 398||48.39|
** Electricity transmission losses are not deducted.
Source: RTE (bilan lectrique 2021) and Ministry for Energy Transition (Chiffres cl's des Energies renouvelables, Edition 2021).
TABLE 4. ENERGY RELATED RATIOS
|Final Energy consumption [PJ]||2000||2005||2010||2015||2020||2021*|
Note: n.a.: data not applicable.
* Latest available data.
**Net import/Total energy consumption.
Source: IEA, Enerdata, Bilan energetique de la France meropolitaine 2017, donnees provisoires (Ministry for Energy 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 accelerated 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 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP.
In June 2015, key decisions were made to give new momentum to the French nuclear industry:
EDF and AREVA joined their 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.
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, during January 2018, NewCo was renamed Orano; during 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 currently being refined but based on the following:
General Directorate for Risk Prevention (DGPR)/ Mission for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection;
Other ministries (Foreign Affairs, Economy and Defense);
Independent nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).
Expert institution/technical support organization: Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN);
Research and development: The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA); CEA also actively participates in national and foreign nuclear policy, under the authority of the Government. As an example, the French representative in the IAEA Board of Governors belongs to the CEA;
Operator of nuclear power plants (EDF);
Supplier of nuclear power plants (EDF);
Designer and supplier of nuclear steam supply systems and nuclear equipment, services and fuel for high levels of safety and performance (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 (Orano Cycle; Philippe Coste Plant);
Enrichment (Orano Cycle; Georges Besse II Plant);
Fuel manufacturing (Framatome (uranium oxide), Orano Cycle (mixed oxide (MOX) Melox));
Reprocessing and nuclear packaging, transportation and interim storage (Orano Cycle);
Decommissioning, dismantling and nuclear waste management (Orano Cycle, CEA, EDF, etc.);
Radioactive waste management (R&D and disposal) (National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ANDRA);
Trade association of the French Civil Nuclear Industry (GIFEN).
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. The start-up of the reactor is planned in 2023. All EDF NPPs undergo a systematic feedback process and a comprehensive periodic safety review 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 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP 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).
FIG. 1. Map of France's nuclear facilities (source: EDF, 2021).
In 2021, nuclear power plants accounted for 360.7 TWh or over 70% of total electricity generation in France. France is the world's second largest nuclear power producer.
TABLE 5. STATUS AND PERFORMANCE OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|ST. LAURENT B-1||PWR||915||Operational||EDF||FRAM||5/1/1976||1/4/1981||1/21/1981||8/1/1983||52.0|
|ST. LAURENT B-2||PWR||915||Operational||EDF||FRAM||7/1/1976||5/12/1981||6/1/1981||8/1/1983||71.0|
|CHINON A-1||GCR||70||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||LEVIVIER||2/1/1957||9/16/1962||6/14/1963||2/1/1964||4/16/1973|
|CHINON A-2||GCR||180||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||LEVIVIER||8/1/1959||8/17/1964||2/24/1965||2/24/1965||6/14/1985|
|CHINON A-3||GCR||360||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||GTM||3/1/1961||3/1/1966||8/4/1966||8/4/1966||6/15/1990|
|CHOOZ-A (ARDENNES)||PWR||305||Permanent Shutdown||SENA||A/F/W||1/1/1962||10/18/1966||4/3/1967||4/15/1967||10/30/1991|
|EL-4 (MONTS D'ARREE)||HWGCR||70||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||GAAA||7/1/1962||12/23/1966||7/9/1967||6/1/1968||7/31/1985|
|G-2 (MARCOULE)||GCR||39||Permanent Shutdown||COGEMA||SACM||3/1/1955||7/21/1958||4/22/1959||4/22/1959||2/2/1980|
|G-3 (MARCOULE)||GCR||40||Permanent Shutdown||COGEMA||SACM||3/1/1956||6/11/1959||4/4/1960||4/4/1960||6/20/1984|
|PHENIX||FBR||130||Permanent Shutdown||CEA/EDF||CNCLNEY||11/1/1968||8/31/1973||12/13/1973||7/14/1974||2/1/2010 11:59:00 PM||0.0|
|ST. LAURENT A-1||GCR||390||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||FRAM||10/1/1963||1/7/1969||3/14/1969||6/1/1969||4/18/1990|
|ST. LAURENT A-2||GCR||465||Permanent Shutdown||EDF||FRAM||1/1/1966||7/4/1971||8/9/1971||11/1/1971||5/27/1992|
|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.|
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 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). At the end of its fourth Periodic Safety Review, the 900 MW PWR series will have reached a level of safety that is as close as possible to the EPR reactor safety level. Extending the nuclear reactors operations also offers higher profitability, with nuclear power costs remaining competitive in relation to other types of power generation (see Section 2.3.3).
The fourth periodic safety review of the 1300 MW PWR series is ongoing.
2.2.3. Permanent shutdown and decommissioning process
On 31 December 2021, 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:
28 BNIs had obtained either a decommissioning decree or a partial decommissioning decree;
7 BNIs were preparing decommissioning operations.
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;
The 2006 Act on the Sustainable Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste No. 2006-739, dated 28 June 2006;
The 2015 Energy Transition for Green Growth Act No. 2015-992, dated 17 August 2015.
To a large extent, all these acts are currently codified in the Environment Code. They are supplemented by implementing decrees and ministerial orders, along with regulations and recommendation guidelines issued by ASN.
Article L. 593-25 of the Environment Code, subsequent to the Act 2015-992 of 17 August 2015, states that the licensee shall proceed to the dismantling of a permanently shut down BNI in a timeframe as short as possible, under economically acceptable conditions, and with respect of environmental protection principles of the Environment Code and radioprotection principles set by the Public Health Safety Code.
Article L. 593-28 of the Environment Code states that decommissioning of a nuclear facility must be prescribed by a decree, issued on the advice of ASN. The decommissioning file presented by the licensee undergoes the same consultations and inquiries as those applicable to a nuclear facility creation authorization application and in accordance with the same procedures. The decommissioning decree in particular determines the characteristics of dismantling, its completion deadline and, as necessary, the operations under the responsibility of the licensee after completion of decommissioning.
The licensing process for decommissioning is regulated by Articles R. 593-67 to R. 593-75 of the Environment Code. Moreover, in accordance with these requirements, operators must draw up a decommissioning plan that sets out the main steps of the dismantling and justify that the period between the final shutdown and the dismantling operations is as short as possible.
The Order of 7 February 2012 provides additional provisions applicable to the decommissioning related aspects (e.g. decommissioning plan, end state, human and organizational factors). In its application file, the licensee must provide the latest update of the decommissioning plan, including the technical steps and the planned schedule. After completion of the decommissioning actions and the cleanup of the site, the nuclear facility may be delicensed. Should residual waste remain on the site, the former nuclear site may still be covered by some restrictions of use, after a public consultation.
It should also be noted that periodic safety reviews are to be done in France for permanently shut down BNIs. The conclusions of the periodic safety review are currently subject of attentive examinations tailored to the risks and inconveniences these installations represent.
As a help for operators or dismantlers, a set of guides reinforces the French legal and regulatory framework on decommissioning. These guides are available on the website: http://www.french-nuclear-safety.fr/References/ASN-Guides-non-binding.
Furthermore, the French National Plan for the Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste (PNGMDR), prescribed by the Act 2006-739 of 28 June 2006, is an important tool to improve radioactive waste management. It is issued by the Ministry in charge of energy and implemented by the Ministry and the ASN with the participation of a pluralistic steering committee comprising more specifically producers of radioactive waste, licensees of the facilities managing this waste, the assessment and oversight authorities and environmental protection associations and is updated every five years since a recent change in legal framework under the Act 2020-1525 of 7 December 2020.
The main objectives of the PNGMDR are to:
draw up the inventory of the existing radioactive material and waste management methods and the chosen technical solutions;
identify the foreseeable needs for storage or disposal facilities and specify their required capacities and the storage durations;
set the general targets, the main deadlines and the schedules enabling these deadlines to be met while taking into account the priorities it defines;
determine the targets to meet for radioactive waste for which there is as yet no final management solution;
organize research and studies related to the management of radioactive materials and wastes, by setting deadlines for the implementation of new management modes, the creation of facilities or the modification of existing facilities.
The fourth edition of the PNGMDR was published February 2017. The fifth edition of the PNGMDR was subject to public consultation in June 2022 and it is expected to be released in 2022.
In addition to this general description of France's regulations related to decommissioning and waste management, the system set up by France for financing the decommissioning of BNIs and managing the spent fuel and radioactive waste produced by these installations is based on the entire financial responsibility of the licensees, under the control of administrative authority with enforcement and sanction powers. This system is defined by Articles L. 594-1 to L. 594-14 and D. 594-1 to D. 594-18 of the Environment Code, by the Order of 21 March 2007 concerning the securing of financing of nuclear costs, as well as by the French accounting standards. The licensees shall make an evaluation of corresponding costs (the nuclear costs ), book provisions accordingly and cover these provisions by dedicated assets (the covering assets ). The realizable value of covering assets shall be at least equal to the amount of these provisions, except for those linked to the operating cycle.
TABLE 6. STATUS OF DECOMMISSIONING PROCESS OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
|Reactor name||Shutdown date||Shutdown reason||Decom. strategy||Current decom. phase||Current fuel management phase||Decom. licensee||Licence terminated|
|BUGEY-1||May-1994||Obsolescent, Economic case no longer viable||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||Dismantling||-||EDF||-|
|CHINON A-1||Apr-1973||Obsolescent, Economic case no longer viable||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||Dismantling||-||EDF||-|
|CHINON A-2||Jun-1985||Obsolescent, Economic case no longer viable||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||Dismantling||-||EDF||-|
|CHINON A-3||Jun-1990||Obsolescent, Economic case no longer viable||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||Dismantling||-||EDF||-|
|CHOOZ-A (ARDENNES)||Oct-1991||End of Life||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||-||-||SENA||-|
|EL-4 (MONTS D'ARREE)||Jul-1985||Obsolescent, Economic case no longer viable||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||-||-||EDF||-|
|PHENIX||Feb-2022||End of Life||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||-||-||-||-|
|ST. LAURENT A-1||Apr-1990||Obsolescent, Economic case no longer viable||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||-||-||EDF||-|
|ST. LAURENT A-2||May-1992||Obsolescent, Economic case no longer viable||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||-||-||EDF||-|
|SUPER-PHENIX||Dec-1998||Political decision||Immediate dismantling & removal of all radioactive material||Dismantling||AFR-RS (Dry Storage)||NERSA||2026|
Source: IAEA Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).
2.3. FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF NUCLEAR POWER SECTOR
2.3.1. Nuclear power development strategy
France has defined ambitious national medium and long-term targets for its energy transition thanks to its Energy Transition Law for Green Growth (LTECV published in 2015), complemented by the Climate Energy Law (LEC published in 2019). The French climate and energy strategy aims at completing the legal objectives (LEC) and is formalized through two complementary documents, which are the Multiannual Energy Plan (PPE) 2019-2028 and the National Low Carbon Strategy (SNBC). The French trajectory in terms of energy and climate policy is subject to a regularly revised framework. Work based on broad consultation has been ongoing since Autumn 2021 with a view to developing the French energy and climate strategy, particularly for the 2024-2028 period. New updates will follow in 2023 to prepare the 2024-2033 PPE.
The majority of the 56 nuclear reactors in EDF's current fleet have reached or will reach 40 years of operation within the next 15 years. Each reactor has to undergo a periodic and comprehensive safety review every 10 years to continue operation.
On 10 February 2022, in view of the very significant increase in electricity needs by 2050 highlighted by a report of RTE published in November 2021, the French President stated that he did not want any nuclear reactor in a capacity of production to be shut down in the near future unless safety reasons dictated otherwise. He asked EDF to study the conditions for operation beyond 50 years, in relation with the nuclear safety authority.
EDF has also been working for several years on an industrial program to build three pairs of EPR2s in France. Based on this work, a report from the Government on the factors for a New Nuclear Power Program has been published on 1 February 2022.
The following points will be taken into account for 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 long term operation of current power plants;
The commissioning of the Flamanville EPR reactor;
The optimization of the EPR reactor design, basis for the next fleet of nuclear reactors;
EDF and the nuclear industry have started the design of the EPR2 reactor. In February 2022, the French President expressed his wish that six EPR2s to be built and studies be initiated for the construction of eight additional EPR2s.
In addition to the EPRs, the French government plans a public support of 1 billion to develop small modular reactors and innovative reactors to close the fuel cycle and produce less waste including. Around 500 million will be dedicated to the NUWARD SMR project developed by EDF and its partners in order to accelerate its deployment and start the construction of a first unit by 2030 and 500 million to accelerate the maturation process of projects, to be selected, on innovative reactors and to enable the emergence of new actors.
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 PPE 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. ANDRA is developing solutions for the disposal of low level long lived waste (LL-LLW), for which there is currently no evacuation route. While not accepted in surface-based storage facilities because of its long-lived radionuclide activity,ehe low specific activity of LL-LLW does not justify storage at 500 m depth in CIGEO.
2.3.2. Project management
The main projects that are ongoing are managed by the relevant nuclear 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 construction of Flamanville EPR reactor, the lead of the industrial Grand Car nage program (see Section 2.3.3), the maturation of the conception of EPR2 and Nuward SMR project 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-accident at the Fukushima Daiichi NPP modifications) and improve on environmental safety and protection. The Grand Car nage 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 49.4 billion (2020 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 12 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 includes 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 PPE, 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. In preparation of the next Energy and Climate Programming Act that should update the LECTV in 2023, a large consultation will precede EDF's first consultations on its EPR2 projects and will concern the future of the electrical mix until 2050.
2.4. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN 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 Government for the creation of a nuclear facility. 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.
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 ASN with the support of IRSN and senior expert groups, an assessment of compliance with the Euratom treaty on radioactive releases and an environmental assessment.
At the end of this period, the Government 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 OPERATION OF NPPs
In France, all existing nuclear power plant used for electricity generation are 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 power 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 oversight by ASN and to comprehensive safety reviews every 10 years.
2.6. ORGANIZATIONS INVOLVED IN DECOMMISSIONING OF NPPs
Following its policy to continuously improve its technical and financial mastery all along the entire nuclear life cycle, EDF group, in 2021, did strengthen its engineering and industrial capacities.
This has been emphasized by the continuous development of the several branches of Cyclife (EDF Holding), devoted to nuclear back end and directly attached to EDF specialized Directorate DP2D (Nuclear Decommissioning and Waste management Projects Directorate). Hence, in 2021 a new subsidiary has been created in Germany as well as some new partnerships and developments have been officialized: Acquisition of complementary Back-end Engineering in UK while in France, new waste treatment (based on vitrification) process and new digital capacities were embedded within EDF Group.
Such combination of genuine DP2D forces coupled with the components of Cyclife Holding are to continuously improve the whole EDF group to assuming its responsibility of nuclear owner/operator. These developments and increase of industrial capacities are to enrich EDF experience and associated knowledge with international references and sharing of methodologies. This reinforcement is to allow EDF as worldwide nuclear operator to mainly rely on its own resources and means. The resulting internal capitalization of feedback in decommissioning is beneficial internally as well as to EDF group's partners who ask for its services following the same principles:
Mastering, in safe conditions, D&D costs and delays,
Mutualizing tools, processes and skills over all its fleet,
Managing uncertainties of the delivery of the devoted graphite disposal, or of unexpected situations that could inevitably occur while decommissioning of facilities which were not originally especially designed with today's considerations.
This EDF strategy has been continuously applied to the 11 already shut down French reactors, being under decommissioning in parallel whereas they are spread over seven different sites and are of four different nuclear technologies (GCRs, PWRs, fast breeder reactors, heavy water reactors).
2.7. FUEL CYCLE INCLUDING WASTE MANAGEMENT
The following table lists fuel cycle activities and organizations.
|Uranium conversion||Orano Cycle|
|Uranium enrichment||Orano Cycle|
|Uranium fuel fabrication||Framatome|
|Reprocessing of radioactive waste||Orano Cycle|
|MOX fuel fabrication||Orano Cycle |
|Interim storage of spent fuel||EDF and Orano Cycle|
|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 fuel assembly design activities, for both UOX and MOX fuels, as well as 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.
Framatome develops, designs, licenses and fabricates fuel assemblies and core components for all types of light water power reactors globally.
Framatome masters the design, development and manufacturing of innovative, safe and ever more efficient fuels for its customers around the world. Framatome's advanced technologies and innovative solutions guarantee the improvement of the safe operation and performance of nuclear power production assets, with fuel solutions now including even more accident-tolerant fuel (PROtect EATF) under development. Framatome's leading position in the field of ATF is recognized through both the various world firsts achieved in recent years (first material solutions tested in power reactor, first irradiated long pencils and first assembly completely equipped with chromium coated pencils loaded in a PWR), as well as the excellent results obtained in reactor. Finally, Framatome's expertise and services also include the development of state-of-the-art codes and methods for the design and justification of fuel assemblies and cores, as well as licensing.
Framatome manufactures uranium oxide fuel for NPPs in its Romans site and is also fully integrated along the zirconium and fuel components supply chain, with several production sites in France and across Europe.
In addition, Framatome performs specific developments and manufactures fuel elements for research centers and universities operating research reactors, covering a wide range of technologies, through its Cerca business line located at its Romans site.
Radioactive waste management and disposal are 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 leenergie atomique et aux Energies 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 a major reorganization of the project in 2020, a roadmap is being followed until the end of 2023 that will allow the JHR project to present to the French Government a stabilized plan during the second semester of 2023. It is already acknowledged that the start-up of the reactor will be postponed to the beginning of the next decade.
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 deuteriumeritium 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.
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 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 are completed by the ASN resolution n -2017-DC-0592.
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 an accidented site within 24 hours.
The off-site emergency plan (PPI) is established by the prefect of the department concerned. 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.
In 2016, the French government increased the range of the off-site emergency plans from 10 km to 20 km around NPPs, following the Herca-Wenra European approach. 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) and for better coordination with neighboring countries. In addition, stable iodine tablets are pre-distributed in this perimeter.
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 Me o-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.
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(s)
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, 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 of 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 Energy 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, use MOX fuel or other major change to the operation of the installations. The ASN makes recommendations to the Government on the decrees in these areas. After this obligatory step, 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 and Territories Cohesion and Ministry for Energy Transition
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 leenergie atomique et aux Energies alternatives (CEA)
Code of Research, Legislative Part, Book III, Title III, Chapter II 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 leenergie atomique et aux Energies 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 Autorit de s ret nucl aire (ASN)
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter II Articles L. 592-1 to L. 592-49.
Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter II Articles R. 592-1 to R. 592-38. Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Institut de radioprotection et de s ret nucl aire (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 Articles R. 592-39 to R. 592-61. National Radioactive Waste Management Agency Agence nationale pour la gestion des d chets 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 I, Title III, Chapter II, Section 1 Articles R.* 1132-1 to D. 1132-8.
Defence Code, Regulatory Part, Part 1, Book III, Title III, Chapter III, Section 2 bis: Articles R.* 1333-67-5 to R.* 1333-67-10.
Defence Code, Regulatory Part, Part 1, Book III, Title III, Chapter III, Section 3: Article D. 1333-68 and D. 1333-69.
Decree No. 2009-1180 of 5 October 2009, as amended, determining the competence and the organization of the General Delegation for Armament (DGA).
Regulatory provisions for nuclear installations
Basic nuclear installations (installations nucl aires de base INB)
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter III Articles L. 593-1 to L. 596-14.
Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title IX, Chapter III: Articles R. 593-1 to R. 593-1234.
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title I Articles L. 511-1 to L. 517-2.
Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title I Articles R. 511-9 to R. 517-10.
Ministerial order of 7 February 2012 laying down general rules for the basic nuclear installations. Installations classified on environmental protection grounds (installations classees pour la protection de leenvironnement ICPE)
Electricity public utility
Energy Code, Legislative Part, Book III: Provisions on electricity Articles L. 311-1 to L. 363-13.
Energy Code, Regulatory Part, Book III: Provisions on electricity Articles L. 311-1 to L. 363-13.
Regulatory regime for nuclear pressure equipment
Environmental Code, Regulatory Part, Book V, Title V, Chapter VII, Sections 12 and 14 Articles R. 557-12-1 to R. 557-14-8.
Ministerial order of November 10, 1999, relating to in-service surveillance of the primary circuit and of the main secondary circuit of pressurized water reactors
Ministerial order of December 30, 2015, so-called eeSPN Order , pertaining to nuclear pressure equipment, setting essential requirements for their design, manufacturing and operation.
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 Articles L. 1333-1 to L. 1333-32.
Public Health Code, Regulatory Part, Part I, Book III, Title III, Chapter III 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 Articles L. 4451-1 and L. 4451-4.
Labour Code, Regulatory Part, Part IV, Book IV, Title V, Chapter I Articles R. 4451-1 to R. 4451-137.
Public Health Code, Regulatory Part, Part I, Book III, Title III, Chapter III, Sections 4 and 5: Articles R. 1333-81 to R. 1333-103.
Ministerial Order of 4 November 2005 relating to informing the public in case of a radiological emergency situation.
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.
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 Articles L. 1333-1 to L. 1333-20.
Defense Code, Regulatory Part, Part I, Book II, Title III, Chapter III Articles R. 1333-1 to D. 1333-79.
Ministerial Order 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
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, on the Sustainable Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste (partly embodied in the Environmental Code).
Environmental Code, Legislative Part, Book V, Title IV, Chapter II 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.
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.
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 (Paris Convention).
Decree No 75-196 of 18 March 1975 related to the publication of the Supplementary Convention to the Paris Convention of 29 July 1960 on Third Party liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy, signed at Bruxelles the 31 January 1963, and the additional Protocol to the Convention of 31 January 1963 Supplementary to the Paris Convention of 29 July 1960 on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy, signed at Paris the 28 January 1964 (Brussels Convention).
Decree No 91-27 of 4 January 1991 related to the publication of the Protocol amending the Convention of 29 July 1960 on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy, amended by the additional Protocol of 28 January 1964, signed at Paris on 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.
Decree No 2022-37 of 17 January 2022 related to the publication of the Protocol amending the Convention of 29 July 1960 on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy, amended by the additional Protocol of 28 January 1964 and by the Protocol of 16 November 1982, and the Protocol amending the Convention of 31 January 1963 Supplementary to the Paris Convention of 29 July 1960 on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy, amended by the additional Protocol of 28 January 1964 and by the Protocol of 16 November 1982, signed at Paris on 12 F bruary 2004.
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 for Energy 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 G n rale de l'energie et du Climat (DGEC), MTE||Elabore et met en uvre la politique energetique de la France|
Tutelle de l ANDRA, d ORANO, du CEA, deeDF et de l IRSN
1 place Carpeaux
F-92055 la D fense Cedex
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 40 81 21 22
|Autorit de S ret Nucl aire (ASN)||Contr le de la s ret nucl aire 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 d chets radioactifs (ANDRA)||Gestion des d chets 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 deequipements Nucl aires|
|Standards Development Organization||C/O EDF LAB|
6 quai Watier
T l. : 33 (0)1 30 83 73 92
|(EDF)||Production d lectricit|
Exploitation des r acteurs nucl aires fran ais
|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 nucl aire||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 r acteurs nucl aires||Tour AREVA|
1, place Jean Millier
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 34 96 60 10
|Organizations involved in research|
|Commissariat leenergie atomique et aux Energies alternatives (CEA)||Etablissement public de recherche||Saclay|
91191 Gif sur Yvette
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 69 08 60 00
Beiment 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 nucl aire||Route de Vinon-sur-Verdon,CS 90 046|
13067 St. Paul-lez-Durance (France)
Tel: (+33 0) 4 42 17 68 88
|Agence pour leenergie Nucl aire (AEN)||Agence sp cialisee de l'Organisation de Coop ration et D veloppement Economique (OCDE)||46 quai Alphonse Gallo|
92 100 Boulogne-Billancourt
|Socie Fran aise de l'energie Nucl aire|
|Association scientifique||103 rue R aumur|
T l. : 33 (0)1 53 58 32 10
Fax : 33 (0)1 53 58 32 11
|Institut National des sciences et techniques nucl aires||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 |
T l. : 33 (0)1 85 78 05 72
|Technical support organizations (TSOs)|
|Institut de radioprotection et de s ret nucl aire|
(IRSN, Nuclear Safety and Radioprotection Institute)
|Expertise et recherche sur les risques nucl aires et radiologiques||BP17 |
F-92262 Fontenay-aux-Roses Cedex
77-83, avenue du G n ral-De-Gaulle
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 58 35 88 88
Fax: (+33 0) 1 58 35 84 51
Mr Jérôme Canel
Bât. 524 p. 24
91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex
Tel.: (+33 0) 1 69 08 68 59