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Again quoting the French Senate report, it appears that the  54 € / MWh estimate for nuclear electicity includes the cost (about 5 € / MWh) of heavy-duty revisions to all the existing plant, both to prolong its life another 30 years and to implement post-Fukushima security. Sounds remarkably cheap... but only if they are effectively able, and allowed, to run them for an extra 30 years after the end of their design life :

Électricité : assumer les coûts et préparer la transition énergétique Electricity: acknowledging the costs and preparing for the energy transition

Votre commission s'interroge toutefois sur le pari que semble faire EDF : ces investissements, égaux aux trois quarts du coût de construction historique des centrales (72,9 milliards d'euros selon la Cour des comptes94(*)) se placent, en effet, dans la perspective de la prolongation des centrales nucléaires. M. Proglio a indiqué clairement aux membres de votre commission que « ces investissements comprennent une large rénovation, sorte de « grand carénage », indispensable à l'approche des trente ans de fonctionnement. Une fois cette rénovation réalisée, les centrales pourront fonctionner pendant trente nouvelles années, sans préjuger, bien sûr, des avis qui nous sont délivrés tous les dix ans par l'ASN. »

Your Committee nevertheless is curious about the bet that EDF seems to be making : these investments, equal to three quarters of the historical construction costs of the plants (72.9 billion euros according to the Court of Auditors) are made, indeed, in view of the extension of the life of nuclear power plants. Mr. Proglio has made it clear to your committee members that " these investments include a wide-ranging renovation, sort of" major overhaul "critical to the perspective of thirty years of operation. Once the renovation is completed, the plants will run for thirty more years, without prejudice, of course, to notices issued to us every ten years by the nuclear safety authority . "
Ainsi ces travaux ne produiront-ils véritablement leur effet sur le plan économique qu'à condition que la durée d'exploitation des centrales soit effectivement prolongée au-delà de trente ans : il s'agit d'une forme de pari économique, l'Autorité de sûreté nucléaire ou l'autorité politique pouvant en décider autrement. Thus these works really only produce their economic effecst on the condition that the duration of plant operation is effectively extended for at least thirty years: it is a form of economic bet, since the Nuclear Safety Authority or the political authority may decide otherwise.

It comes down to trust, in the end. Every nation's nuclear safety record is excellent, until it isn't.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jul 20th, 2012 at 06:02:02 AM EST
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