By ANTONY ASHKENAZ10:01, Sun, Jul 3, 2022
France is facing a relatively unique energy crisis when compared to other countries in Europe. The country is not heavily dependent on natural gas, Russian or otherwise, getting most of its energy supplies from nuclear power, which generates 70 percent of the country’s electricity. However, Paris has been forced to shut down many French reactors, as a recent report warned Mr Macron of significant corrosion safety problems in EDF nuclear power plants in France as cracks were detected in some nuclear reactors.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Bernard Laponche, the co-author of this study warned that in many of these reactors, cracks to cooling systems could cause devastating accidents.
He said: “If the defects are detected in or near the welds, or near the junction between these and the primary cooling circuit cause a breach in the cooling system with an important loss of water, this can lead to the partial or total melting of the fuel assemblies in the reactor core.
“That means the possibility of a Three Mile Island or a Fukushima-type accident.”
Dr Laponche warned that all other reactors will likely be checked by for these issues within the next year.
If further evidence of cracks are found, the corresponding part of the reactor will be removed and replaced, in a procedure that Dr Laponche estimates could take a year.
He added: “This means that a large part of the EDF nuclear fleet will be gradually shut down.
“Next winter, France will reopen coal and gas plants. But the country has very few of them and it will have to import a maximum of electricity from abroad.
“Important efforts will be necessary to reduce electricity consumption, particularly at the winter peak (due in particular to a high proportion of electrical heating).”