Tricastin 2 cleared for 40 years of operation

11 February 2015

Unit 2 of the four-unit Tricastin nuclear power plant in southern France has been given approval by the French nuclear regulator to operate for a further ten years.

ASN inspection at Tricastin NPP 460 (ASN)
ASN carries out an inspection at the Tricastin plant (Image: ASN)

In France the authorization to operate a nuclear reactor does not specify a time limit. Instead, the law requires that the operator of a reactor performs a review of the level of safety at the unit every ten years.

The French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité De Sûreté Nucléaire, ASN) said that EDF has successfully completed a third ten-year safety review for Tricastin 2. The review comprised two phases: a review of the unit's compliance with safety requirements and a reassessment of security measures at the plant.

ASN said today that it was satisfied that EDF has the ability to safely operate the 900 MWe pressurised water reactor for a further ten years.

However, the ASN issued EDF with additional requirements for the unit's continued operation. It now requires EDF to implement most of the post-Fukushima safety upgrades imposed in June 2012 and January 2014 before the end of this year.

The next ten-year safety review for Tricastin 2 is to take place before 18 November 2021.

Tricastin 1 – also a 900 MWe PWR which began operating in December 1980 - was the first French reactor to undergo its third decennial outage. The ASN conducted its third ten-year inspection of the unit between May and August 2009. In December 2010, ASN extended its operating licence by ten years, to 2020.

All 34 of France's 900 MWe reactors had their lifetimes extended by ten years in 2002, after their second ten-yearly review. Most started up in the late 1970s to early 1980s, and they are reviewed together in a process that takes four months at each unit. A review of the 1300 MWe class followed and in October 2006 the ASN cleared all 20 units for an extra ten years' operation conditional upon minor modifications at their 20-year outages over 2005-14. The third ten-year inspections of the 900 MWe series began in 2009 and will run to 2020. The third ten-year inspections of the 1300 MWe series will run from 2015 to 2024.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News