Cold sweat in Chinon. This Saturday, EDF announced that a fire had broken out during the night from Friday to Saturday in the Chinon nuclear power plant, in Indre-et-Loire. Outside the nuclear zone fortunately. As a reminder, the Chinon nuclear power plant, one of the oldest in France, has four 900 MWe pressurized water reactors. Commissioned between 1982 and 1987, last year they produced 5.4% of French nuclear electricity production.
Automatic shutdown of reactor no. 3
Around 2:40 a.m., “ a fire broke out at the main transformer of production unit number 3, located outside the nuclear zone. Production unit number 3 at the Chinon nuclear power plant shut down automatically, in accordance with the reactor’s safety and protection systems. », announced EDF. And to add that the intervention teams of the power plant “ immediately went to the scene, and in accordance with procedures, external emergency services were called. The fire is out “.
On its website, ASN, the Nuclear Safety Agency, indicated that an internal emergency plan had been triggered: “ The loss of the main external electrical power supply to reactor 3, following this fire, led to the automatic shutdown of the reactor. The fire equipment necessary to extinguish the fire has been put into service “, she said. In addition to unit no. 3, production unit no. 4 is shut down “ in complete safety », specifies the electrician.
Control of the rainwater network
“ASN will be attentive to monitoring the rainwater network on reactors 3 and 4 and will examine, in conjunction with EDF and IRSN (Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety, editor’s note), the conditions for lifting the emergency plan. internal emergency, in order to authorize its lifting,” continued the French nuclear policeman.
This week, during the strike of certain EDF employees between Monday and Tuesday, the strikers delayed the planned disconnection of reactor number 1 for maintenance, which will postpone the work period, scheduled until October.
Brussels launches industrial alliance for small reactors
Brussels announced on Friday the launch of a European industrial alliance in nuclear power to accelerate the deployment of future small modular reactors (SMR), a promising technology to decarbonize the industry within ten years. This announcement is part of a recent comeback of nuclear power within European institutions under the influence of a dozen EU countries, including France, Sweden and Poland, which are counting on this carbon-free energy to achieve their climate goals.
SMRs (“small modular reactors”) are nuclear reactors that are much smaller than conventional power plants. They can be manufactured in the factory before being transported to the installation site. The technology is still in development and is the subject of international competition.
More flexible and less expensive than large reactors, SMRs will be able to replace gas, oil or coal power plants. They will be able to provide electricity and heat for industry and district heating or to produce low-carbon hydrogen.
“By strengthening cooperation at EU level, the Alliance will accelerate the deployment of the first SMRs in the EU by the early 2030s,” the European Commission said in a statement.
On Friday, it launched a first call for applications until April 12, aimed at electricity suppliers, nuclear industry companies, financial institutions, research organizations, training centers and civil society organizations. The objective is to encourage the establishment of a European sector. In particular, this involves identifying and filling technological or industrial gaps and promoting cooperation between the different stakeholders.