Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credit: Ramon van Flymen / ANP MAG / ANP via AFP 21:11 p.m., November 10, 2023

EDF needs to rethink its approach. The environmental authority has recommended reviewing the impact study of the preparatory work for the construction of the new EPR2 reactors on the Penly site. According to this independent authority, several elements are missing or need to be completed to meet the main environmental issues.

The Environmental Authority has recommended that EDF significantly revise its copy of the impact study of the preparatory work for the construction of two new EPR2 reactors on the Penly site (Manche) and their operation, according to an opinion published on Friday. This independent authority, whose mission is to issue opinions on the environmental impact of road or energy projects in particular, specifies from the outset that it has not assessed the nuclear safety of the site.

Several elements are missing or need to be completed

However, she believes that the main environmental issues of this project are, during the construction phase, the health of the population, noise in particular, as well as the preservation of the natural environment and biodiversity. During the operation phase, the issues at stake will be "the risks of damage to the population and the environment linked to radiological, thermal and chemical discharges as well as the production of nuclear waste and greenhouse gas emissions for the entire nuclear industry".

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In these respects, several elements are missing or need to be completed in the impact study, according to the Autorité. It regrets, for example, that the impact study did not take into account the reclamation of the site if the project does not come to fruition or when it will no longer be exploited. While the project plans to artificialise 24 hectares of seabed, the Autorité recommends presenting avoidance, reduction and, where appropriate, compensation measures.

The Authority also makes several recommendations for the operation phase, such as the reduction of the "proposed emission standards for certain pollutants, in particular hydrazine, detergents, organohalogen and residual oxidants, whenever it is not demonstrated that their discharge has no impact on the marine environment". It also recommends "an in-depth review of the project's impacts" on the four Natura 2000 sites in the vicinity of the site.