EU green lights French nuclear power station

24th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Oct 24, 2006 (AFP) - The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it had given the green light for the construction of a nuclear power plant in northern France.

BRUSSELS, Oct 24, 2006 (AFP) - The European Commission announced on Tuesday that it had given the green light for the construction of a nuclear power plant in northern France.

"The European Commission has sent the French authorities a favourable opinion on the investment project for the construction of an EPR — an ordinary pressurised water reactor with a power output of 1630 megawatts — at the Flamanville site," the European Union's executive arm said in a statement.

The EPR (European Pressurised Water Reactor) design has been developed since the 1990s by Germany's Siemens and France's Framatome-ANP, which is part of the state-owned nucelar energy group Areva.

The EPR project is aimed at achieving the highest possible level of nuclear safety, environmental protection and economic performance, the Commission said, and uses 17 percent less fuel than the types of reactor currently operating in France. Its expected service life is 60 years.

The reactor will be the first in a planned generation of updated plants for France's ambitious nuclear industry.

France derives around three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear power, the highest ratio of any country in the world.

It has 58 reactors in standard designs of 900, 1,300 and 1,450 megawatts.

They were built under a vast programme, launched 30 years ago during the first oil crisis, aimed at weaning the country off its dependence on imported fuel.

These reactors will start reaching the end of their approximately 40-year design life from 2015, which is why the French authorities are already looking at replacements.

Preparatory work on the new nuclear plant site began in August but construction of the plant itself should begin early next year. The project is estimated to cost EUR 3.3 billion.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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