4th periodic safety review of the 900 MWe reactors: ASN plans consulting the public at the end of 2020

Published on 22/04/2020 • 03:12 pm

Information notice

ASN is continuing its examination of the files constituting the generic phase of the fourth periodic safety review of EDF's thirty-two 900 MWe[1] reactors. It plans consulting the public at the end of 2020 on its draft position statement concerning the continued operation of these reactors. At present, ASN considers that the Covid-19 epidemic should have only a limited impact on its position statement schedule.

The fourth periodic safety review of the 900 MWe reactors represents an important milestone, since some of the reactor equipment items would be required to function beyond their initial design assumptions. Their continued operation beyond this periodic safety review therefore requires either the updating of the design studies or equipment replacements. Moreover, the modifications made to the installations in the context of this review must allow the achievement of safety objectives approaching those of new-generation reactors. Lastly, this fourth periodic safety review provides the opportunity to complete the integration of the changes arising from the ASN prescriptions issued following the stress tests performed in the wake of the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant accident.

Since 2016, ASN - assisted by IRSN - has been examining the studies conducted by EDF for the purpose of this review. These studies have enabled EDF to define the checks and modifications it plans implementing on its reactors. On 31st March 2020, IRSN sent ASN an opinion summarising the expert assessments it carried out. During autumn 2020, ASN will obtain the opinion of its Advisory Committee for Nuclear Reactors on the conclusions of its examination.

ASN has involved the public in the major phases of this periodic safety review. ASN consulted the public as of 2016, when preparing its position statement regarding EDF's proposed objectives for this safety review. This approach continued in 2018, under the aegis of the High Committee for Transparency and Information on Nuclear Security, in the form of a consultation on the measures planned by EDF to meet these objectives.

The generic phase of the periodic safety review, which is common to all the 900 MWe reactors, will be followed by a phase specific to each reactor, taking into account their specific characteristics and the inspection results. ASN will then adopt a position regarding the continued operation of each reactor, after holding a public inquiry into the measures proposed by EDF.

The first specific position statement will concern reactor 1 of the Tricastin nuclear power plant. Its issue is planned for 2022.

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Published on 06/06/2019

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Les cahiers de l'ASN #1 - Nuclear power plants going beyond 40 years

In what conditions can the 900 MWe nuclear power plants, which are the oldest in the French nuclear fleet, continue to operate? How to guarantee management of the ageing of materials and systems after 40 years of operation?

 [1] The nuclear reactors concerned are those of the Blayais, Bugey, Chinon, Cruas, Dampierre, Gravelines, Saint-Laurent-de-Eaux and Tricastin NPPs. The reactors of the Fessenheim NPP, which will both be definitively shut down in 2020, shall be subject to a specific 4th periodic safety review.

Date of last update : 22/04/2020