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France wants to better equip its nuclear power plants for heat waves

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France wants to better equip its nuclear power plants for heat waves

France’s Electricity Company (EDF) wanted to equip its nuclear power plants for the increasing number of heat waves in order to prevent operational restrictions due to cooling problems.

EDF’s environmental director Cécile Laugier told the newspaper Les Echos.

EDF is examining investments in storage capacities for cooling water that cannot be returned to rivers during a heat wave due to excessive temperatures.

Laugier said this in an article published on Wednesday.

During the last year’s hot summer, some plants needed temporary exemptions to be able to return cooling water that was slightly hotter.

“Today, our storage capacities are more than sufficient, but if we look to the future, we will have to increase our margins,’’ Laugier said.

EDF may be forced to scale back its reactors to limit river warming during heat waves.

Since the early 2000s, such losses have amounted to 0.3 per cent of the group’s electricity production.

According to EDF’s forecasts, these will rise to 1.5 per cent by 2050.

At the same time, the company is pushing for a reassessment of environmental standards that limit discharges into rivers.

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“The environmental concepts are based on studies from the seventies, but climate change is already changing the environment.

“The regulations must refer to the level of heating and not an absolute temperature,’’ she said,

Laugier added that the discussions on this would be held with France’s Nuclear Safety Authority.

EDF also wants to use cooling water more sparingly, the manager told the newspaper.

It will test a process in which water vapour produced at the cooling towers can be collected and reused as cooling water.

France wants to better equip its nuclear power plants for heat waves

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