Emmanuel Macron is convening a “Presidential Council on Nuclear Policy” today. The aim is to establish a roadmap to accelerate the revival of the industry.
The purpose of the meeting held at the Élysée Palace was to set a timetable for the construction of six new reactors and small SMRs, and to decide on the extension of existing reactors.
The participants in this high-level seminar must have consulted the 2022 edition of an exhaustive annual report, concocted under the direction of Mycle Schneider, a consultant specializing in the analysis of the global nuclear industry.
Chinese and Russians lead the market
“The World Nuclear Industry is something of a bible in this area. In this 2022 edition, a number of data bend the neck of some deep-seated misconceptions in the population.
The Chinese and the Russians are the most active in this field. Of the 7 new reactors commissioned this year, Beijing has launched 3 on its territory. And it is still Russia that dominates the market as a technology provider: 20 units under construction by mid-2022, of which only 3 will be on its territory.
This report on the world’s reactor fleet points to a source of concern: the age of the reactors. The United States, for example, has 92 reactors with an average operating life of more than 41 years, which is far from being a guarantee of safety.
Corrosion and aging of the fleet
As for France, the nuclear industry has experienced serious operating problems: cracks linked to a “stress corrosion phenomenon have been identified in the safety injection systems of the most powerful nuclear reactors. A problem that has come on top of the shutdowns related to aging, compliance and upgrading imposed by the safety authorities.
A situation that is out of place in the midst of the global energy crisis.