Too little nuclear energy: – France is ramping up coal-fired power stations again


In fact, coal-fired power stations (NPPs) should be a thing of the past in France, as the country has long relied entirely on nuclear energy. But because 32 of the 56 reactors are currently shut down for security checks and France therefore has to import electricity, a coal-fired power station in Saint-Avold that was only shut down in March is being restarted…

The power plant in the Moselle department on the border with Germany, which was actually shut down six months ago, is now surprisingly busy again. The power plant is to be reconnected to the grid and generate electricity from the climate-killing coal, although a biomass plant would actually be built on the site.

“It’s kind of a failure”
Almost all employees who retired in March are back and busy with the preparations. But site manager Sylvain Krebs isn’t too happy either: “We’re going back to coal, but we know it’s not good, that we’re polluting the environment. It is somehow a failure for the power plant to restart, of course there is nothing the state can do about it. Ecologically, for our planet, for our children, that means failure.”

“The work is quite demanding, in normal times we would have needed 18 months for the preparation and several months for the work itself. Now we had two months of preparation time and two months of very, very intensive work on the site,” said Camille Jaffelo, spokeswoman for power plant operator GazelEnergie.

Two-thirds of electricity is generated from nuclear energy
To date, France has generated about two-thirds of its electricity from nuclear power, while coal contributes only 0.3 percent. At full load, the Saint Avold power plant can supply electricity to a third of all households in the Grand Est region of 5.5 million inhabitants. More than half a million tons of coal would be burned from October to March alone.

France is preparing for winter
Meanwhile, France is preparing for a power shortage next winter. “The risk of power failure cannot be completely ruled out,” grid operator RTE said on Wednesday. In most cases, however, this could be avoided with energy savings of one to five percent. In a very cold winter, up to 15 percent may need to be saved, it said.

Less hydropower due to drought
“It is an exceptional situation for France and for all of Europe,” said RTE boss Xavier Piechaczyk. France is less dependent on Russian gas than other European countries. In contrast, the production of nuclear power plants fell by about 15 gigawatts last summer. Due to the drought, the dams were also less full and less electricity was produced by hydropower.

Source: Krone


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