#4 Which Loir-et-Cher in 2050? : will the Saint-Laurent nuclear power plant still be in operation?

It is a big risk to say that the Saint-Laurent nuclear power plant will still be in operation in 2050, declares Gilles Clément, president of the commune of Grand Chambord, the territory where the reactors are located. Everything depends on whether the vessels of both reactors are able to assume their role in complete safety.

The elected official initially mentions the extension “virtually acquired” their operation for another ten years after the fourth 10-year inspection, which took place in 2023 on Reactor No. 2 – Reactor No. 1 will be inspected in 2025. A public survey common to both reactors will conclude the process in 2026, with the aim of gathering residents’ expectations and informing about the decision of the Office for Nuclear Safety on the continuation or non-continuation of the power plant.

EDF believes it will operate its reactors for up to 60 years and more

If the indicators indicate that ASN will give the green light for the next ten years, he specifies that he will not write a blank check to the EDF operator that would force him to improve. But at what cost?

“At the national level, EDF has already started technical and orientation studies for a 50-year periodic review, the operator announces. These fifth decennial visits will focus on the impacts of climate change and water, a particularly important topic for sites located along rivers. EDF is confident of its ability to operate its 56 reactors safely for up to 60 years and beyond. »

“Nuclear Power Will Decline Economically”

It seems that we are far from the vision set out in 2011 by the Négawatt association, which planned to shut down the power plants after 40 years. “We think nuclear power will decline economically. The state and EDF insist on investing a lot of money in unnecessary projects,” deplores Didier Narbebura, co-president of Sortir du nuclear 41. Jean Coly, a member of the network and sitting on the local information commission, evokes a more pessimistic scenario of the closure of the Saint-Laurent plant in 2040 after a serious nuclear accident on the aging French fleet.

What is certain is that the Saint-Laurent power plant will one day end its life. The region knows this and is preparing for it. The President of Grand Chambord thus mentions the transformation of the Bordes site in Saint-Laurant-Nouan through private investment into a place of tourist accommodation bringing “jobs and tax revenue”.

Decades of dismantling

The territory has not found a position for the location of new reactors, unlike the Chinese intercommunity, which after Emmanuel Macron’s announcement in 2022 asked to build an EPR to restart the sector.

However, the Saint-Laurent power plant site will remain active with disassembly and deconstruction projects – those on the two previous reactors after they were shut down in 1990 and 1992 are still ongoing. “Responsibility for disassembly rests with the operator with one goal: ‘do it fast and do it well’, explains Albane Fontaine, head of the ASN division in Orléans. But in nuclear power, the concept of speed must be put into perspective. ASN talks about the end of dismantling the first two reactors around 2100. By then, the Sortir du nuclear 41 is worried about the collapse of the buildings that house them and contamination. Regarding the dismantling of the two current 900 MW reactors, feedback from around the world will be used.

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