Framatome signs contracts with Sizewell C

April 18, 2024, 3:02PMNuclear News
A computer-generated rendering of the Sizewell site on the Suffolk coast. Sizewell A and B are to the left and center (respectively) in this image; the section to the right is the Sizewell C area. (Image: EDF Energy)

French nuclear developer Framatome is slated to deliver key equipment for Sizewell C Ltd.’s two large reactors planned for the United Kingdom’s Suffolk coast.

The agreement, reportedly worth multiple billions of euros, was announced this week and will involve Framatome from the design phase until commissioning. The company also agreed to a long-term fuel supply deal. Framatome is 80.5 percent owned by France’s EDF and 19.5 percent owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

France leads Europe as largest 2023 energy exporter

March 7, 2024, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

According to a new report by the European energy analysis firm Montel EnAppSys, France was “comfortably” the biggest net exporter of energy in Europe throughout 2023, with its export totals being 48.7 TWh more than its import totals. In second place in Europe was Sweden, with 28.6 TWh more in exports than imports.

Transformer fire shuts down nuclear reactors in France

February 13, 2024, 12:30PMNuclear News
Chinon nuclear power plant in France. (Photo: Wargus/Wikimapia)

A fire this past weekend at Chinon nuclear power plant in France forced two reactors to be shut down. According to initial reports, a transformer in a nonnuclear sector of Unit 3 caught fire.

The incident occurred February 10 in the early morning hours, local time, and the fire was quickly extinguished.

Changes underway for France’s draft energy bill

January 24, 2024, 7:01AMNuclear News

A proposed energy bill that the French government is scheduled to consider in early February is generating a great deal of controversy. If approved by the cabinet, the bill will go next to lawmakers in parliament for their consideration. However, the wording of the draft bill has been going through changes due to a controversy over nuclear energy versus renewables.

Early draft: A draft of the bill released on January 8 seemed to prioritize nuclear energy over renewable energy sources, including solar and wind. According to a January 9 report by France 24, the bill asserted “the sustainable choice of using nuclear energy as a competitive and carbon-free” source of electricity, and it set specific goals for nuclear energy, such as the construction of between six and 14 new nuclear reactors as a crucial step toward meeting climate change goals.

COP28 is the backdrop for new fuel commitments from the U.S. and allies

December 12, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News

Leaders of five nations that collectively represent 50 percent of the world’s uranium conversion and enrichment capacity—the United States, Canada, Japan, France, and the United Kingdom—are making a habit of meeting on the sidelines of global climate talks to pledge their commitment to securing the nuclear fuel supply chain. On December 7 at the Net Zero Nuclear Summit—an event held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, during the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP28—representatives of those nations announced plans to “mobilize at least $4.2 billion” in government and private investment in enrichment and conversion capacity. The commitment expands on an initial civil nuclear fuel security agreement that the so-called Sapporo 5 reached in April 2023, when they met (as now, on the sidelines) during a G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy, and Environment in Sapporo, Japan.

Deep geologic repository progress

November 10, 2023, 3:07PMNuclear NewsEmily Stein

Outside my office, there is a display case filled with rock samples from all over the world. It contains a disk of translucent, orange salt from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M.; a core of white-and-bronze gneiss from the site of the future deep geologic repository in Eurajoki, Finland; several angular chunks of fine-grained, gray claystone from the underground research laboratory at Bure, France; and a piece of coarse-grained granite from the underground research tunnel in Daejeon, South Korea.

France’s ASN begins review of the Cigéo repository

June 28, 2023, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Diagram of the Cigéo repository in France. (Image: Andra)

Having deemed the application admissible, France’s nuclear safety authority, Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), will undertake a technical appraisal of Andra’s application to construct the Cigéo deep geological disposal facility for radioactive waste.

Five G7 nations form alliance to reduce reliance on Russian nuclear fuel

April 20, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
The ministers representing their respective nations as the statement on civil nuclear fuel cooperation was announced were (from left) Jonathan Wilkinson, minister of natural resources of Canada; Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s minister of economy, trade, and industry; Jennifer Granholm, U.S. energy secretary; Grant Shapps, U.K. energy security secretary; and Agnes Pannier-Runacher, French minister for energy transition.

A civil nuclear fuel security agreement between the five nuclear leaders of the G7—announced on April 16 on the sidelines of the G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment in Sapporo, Japan—establishes cooperation between Canada, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States to flatten Russia’s influence in the global nuclear fuel supply chain.

French, European power analysis for first quarter

April 19, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Although the first quarter of the year saw some of the French nuclear fleet return to service, it was not at the rate originally anticipated, according to data analysis company EnAppSys. France’s nuclear availability, the company noted, was expected to reach a maximum of 50 GW by the middle of the first quarter, but that goal was not reached due to several reasons, including the need for additional repairs and maintenance when stress corrosion cracking first appeared in several reactors last year. Workforce strikes at nuclear operator Électricité de France also led to widespread employee walkouts from nuclear power plants.

Waste Management 2023: Innovation, transformation, and sustainability

March 20, 2023, 3:01PMRadwaste Solutions

Attracting more than 2,000 attendees, the 2023 Waste Management Symposia was held February 26–March 2 in Phoenix, Ariz. For many, this year’s conference was a return to business as usual, with a packed exhibit hall and well-attended technical session, as the upheaval brought about by the pandemic that began three years earlier seemed a thing of the pasts. Not that those who gathered in Phoenix threw any caution to the unseasonably cold and rainy winds that descended across Arizona this year.

International Nuclear

March 10, 2023, 9:30AMEdited March 10, 2023, 9:30AMANS NewsSteven Arndt

Steven Arndt

As president of ANS, I am frequently asked, if it is the American Nuclear Society, why are you concerned with what is happening outside the United States? I usually start with a simple response: Although ANS is incorporated in the U.S., the Society has local and student sections as well as members in a number of other countries and is involved with key issues throughout the world. Although this is true—we have seven international sections and four international student sections, and about 10 percent of our membership is from other countries—it is only part of the story. From the very beginning, nuclear science and technology has been an international collaboration. The U.S. certainly can claim leadership in a lot of the advances in the research and industrial applications of our technology, but most of our advances have been based on active collaboration both within and across borders.

During my tenure, I have seen this firsthand. As travel has opened up throughout the world in the past year, I have visited the Latin American and French sections of ANS, as well as the University of Puerto Rico student section, and I have attended a number of ANS-sponsored technical meetings throughout the world.

Countries change nuclear policies in response to Ukraine war

January 6, 2023, 7:09AMNuclear News

As a direct result of the war in Ukraine, several countries have changed their policies on nuclear energy—even those with long-standing nuclear phase-out plans. This February will mark one year since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, leading to ongoing war and turning pandemic-era energy shortages into a global energy crisis. Spiking gas prices and concerns about electricity supply during the cold winter months have thrown many governments into a frenzy as they try to ease the impact on their citizens.

Countries in the process of phasing out their nuclear power had been prepared to increase their reliance on natural gas. But as Russia supplies 40 percent of the European Union’s natural gas, nations with no reliable alternative now face sky-high energy prices—even energy poverty. Across Europe and beyond, nuclear power plants slated for permanent closure have been given second chances to shore up energy supply. Nuclear power has also claimed a bigger spotlight in countries’ strategies for energy independence.

Bulletin article focuses on World Nuclear Industry Status Report

October 13, 2022, 7:02AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A picture of the state of the global nuclear energy industry has been painted in a recent article by Dawn Stover, a contributing editor at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Stover based her comments on The World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2022 (WNISR), published on October 5. The report refers to itself as an “independent assessment of nuclear developments in the world” compiled by an international team.

What’s in the WNISR: In the report, 10 countries—China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—receive a focused analysis based on specific issues affecting their nuclear businesses. Other chapters deal with the statuses of Fukushima, decommissioning in general, potential newcomer countries to nuclear power, and small modular reactors. For the first time, the WNISR also contains a chapter on nuclear power and war.

Report sizes up nuclear new-build financing from five top exporters

August 31, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

As energy security and environmental concerns prompt some countries to increase their reliance on nuclear energy or become first-time adopters of the technology, the U.S. government must decide whether it will offer financing for reactor exports—a move that poses financial risks but could create jobs, address global climate and energy security challenges, and limit Chinese and Russian influence. A new report released on August 25 by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, Comparing Government Financing of Reactor Exports: Considerations for U.S. Policy Makers, digs into the history of nuclear reactor financing and delivers recommendations for U.S. policymakers.

Matt Bowen, research scholar at the center and the report’s lead author, told Nuclear News, “Given how important financing is to countries considering new reactor construction, as well as the competition that U.S. vendors face from foreign state-owned entities, Congress and the White House should both focus attention on the issue, including policy options to increase U.S. competitiveness.”

French ambassador visits General Atomics to talk ITER and more

June 20, 2022, 7:03AMNuclear News
Ambassador Philippe Étienne (sixth from left) and staff from the Consulate General of France with senior leaders from General Atomics at the GA Magnet Technologies Center in Los Angeles. In the background are two partially completed ITER central solenoid modules. (Photo: GA)

General Atomics’ Magnet Technologies Center in Poway, Calif., played host last week to French ambassador Philippe Étienne, the company announced June 16. During the visit, which was hosted by Vivek Lall, chief executive of the General Atomics Global Corporation, Étienne viewed ITER central solenoid modules—all destined for shipment to France—in several stages of the fabrication process.

“General Atomics and French organizations have a strong relationship in both the defense and energy sectors, as well as in the unmanned field, that meet both France’s and the United States’ important interests,” Étienne remarked during his visit.

France’s energy woes worsened by inspection-related nuclear power plant shutdowns

May 6, 2022, 6:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The nuclear power plant in Cattenom, France. (Photo: Stefan Kühn)

Bloomberg recently reported that nuclear power production in France declined to its lowest level in almost two years in April, with power output during that month falling to 21.7 TWh. The decline occurred as Électricité de France (EDF), one of the country’s major energy suppliers, dealt with long-term inspection-and maintenance-related halts to the operation of many of its 56 domestic nuclear reactors.

Europe’s confused climate strategy

March 18, 2022, 3:55PMNuclear NewsMatthew L. Wald

Europeans are taking resolute steps to reduce their output of climate-changing gases, but some countries are moving in the wrong direction.

Many countries are adding solar and wind, which are low-carbon energy sources. Some have moved to biomass, the value of which as a climate cure is not clear. A few are adding reactors, while others are defining nuclear as dirty energy and natural gas as “clean” and are changing their generation mix accordingly.

French regulator puts ITER tokamak welding on hold

March 3, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear News
Approval from French regulator ASN is required before ITER vacuum vessel welding can begin. (Photo: ITER)

In a February 28 article posted on the ITER Organization website, Gilles Perrier, head of ITER’s Safety and Quality Department, addressed the decision by French nuclear safety regulator ASN (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire) to delay the anticipated February 1 release of a preset tokamak assembly “hold point.”

France’s Macron goes nuclear

February 14, 2022, 7:06AMANS Nuclear Cafe


As part of its drive for carbon neutrality by 2050, France will build at least six new nuclear reactors in the coming decades, according to a February 10 article from Reuters. "What our country needs, and the conditions are there, is the rebirth of France's nuclear industry," French president Emmanuel Macron said as he announced France’s new nuclear strategy.

Macron also said that he wanted to extend the life spans of France’s existing nuclear plants.

The price tag: The six new plants would be built and operated by state-controlled energy provider EDF, which has estimated the cost of those plants total at about 50 billion euros (about $57 billion), depending on financing conditions, according to the article.

The first new reactor, an evolution of the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), would come on line by 2035, Macron said. The article added that the country would embark on a study to determine whether a further eight reactors beyond the initial six would be needed.