France: a reactor of the Cattenom nuclear power plant shut down

The Cattenom nuclear power plant, in Moselle, in October 2017. AFP - JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN

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Reactor number 3 of the Cattenom nuclear power plant has been shut down since Saturday March 26.

In Cattenom, in the north-east of France, not far from the border with Luxembourg, it is a question of checking whether it is affected by corrosion problems on security systems, as is the case for other reactors in the country.

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Cattenom 3 is shut down for five weeks.

EDF will probe the reactor pipes.

Cracks due to corrosion have already been discovered or are suspected on five other units in France.

They were discovered near welds, on the pipes of a safety cooling system, which should make it possible to inject borated water into the reactor in the event of an accident and thus prevent the nuclear reaction.

Thanks to ultrasonic inspection techniques, EDF believes that these pipes can fulfill their function, that the cracks are superficial.

But the ASN, the Nuclear Safety Authority, has requested additional analyzes to see if the problem does not extend to the primary cooling systems, in particular.

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Replacement solutions, repairs or in-depth checks will be offered on a case-by-case basis, specifies EDF.

At the same time, the emergency examination of six reactors is continuing on the territory.

In Cattenom, but also on the reactors of the Bugey, Chinon and Flamanville power plants.

Consequently, EDF announced in February to revise its electricity production downwards for the year 2022. Forecasts reduced to 295-315 terawatt hours (TWh), against 300-330 TWh, but no blackout, assures the government.

The entire French nuclear fleet must be inspected by the end of 2023.

►Also listen: Why is the revival of nuclear energy still uncertain?

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  • France

  • Energies

  • Nuclear

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