Abstracts of the ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2023

Published on 26/06/2024

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The Nuclear Safety Authority presents its report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2023.

This report is required by Article L. 592-31 of the Environment Code.

It was submitted to the President of the Republic,  the Prime Minister and the Presidents of the Senate and the National Assembly and  transmitted to the Parliamentary Office for the  Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices, pursuant to the above-mentioned Article.

2023, a key year marked by new nuclear ambitions

The safety level of the nuclear facilities was satisfactory in 2023, with less pressure on the “fuel cycle” facilities than in 2022 and with implementation by EDF of a strategy that ASN considered to be appropriate for dealing with and remedying the stress corrosion phenomenon that had appeared on some of its reactors. Radiation protection performance remained at a good level despite an increase in the number of level 2 significant events in the medical sector. This mixed picture recalls the importance of conducting radiotherapy risk assessments.

From left to right: Stéphanie GUÉNOT BRESSON, Commissioner ; Olivier DUBOIS, Commissioner ; Géraldine PINA, Commissioner ; Bernard DOROSZCZUK, Chairman ; Jean‑Luc LACHAUME, Commissioner

At a time of new nuclear ambitions, ASN underlines three topics that deserve particular attention:

  1. The more ambitious aims by the licensees, for the continued operation of the existing nuclear facilities, requires that the measures to be implemented without relay in order to safely achieve these new objectives be identified. They also require that forward planning for the long-term issues regarding the reactors must be continued and reinforced with a view to operation beyond 60 years, in coordination with the new “fuel cycle” facilities being envisaged, while clarifying future reprocessing solutions.
  2. The enthusiasm for the Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and Advanced Modular Reactors (AMRs) which have potentially promising intrinsic safety characteristics, should not eclipse the technical and societal issues that they raise. These issues are notably linked to the preliminary work to be done to demonstrate their dependability, to all the safety/security and non-proliferation issues to be considered pstream, and to the acceptability of the siting of these reactors outside dedicated nuclear sites.
  3. The numerous new nuclear projects require an exceptional effort in terms of expertise, project management and industrial rigour, which concerns the entire sector. Despite the progress made in technical expertise and management of activities, the checks carried out by ASN along the procurement chain for the equipment intended for nuclear facilities still highlight a recurring lack of industrial rigour. Over and above these shortfalls, against the backdrop of a significant increase in workload, preventing falsification and counterfeiting at all levels along the subcontracting chain must remain a major point of focus across the sector.

Date of last update : 26/06/2024