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Risks of Life-time Extension of Ageing Nuclear Power Plants - INRAG

image credit: Credit: INRAG
Laurent Segalen's picture
CEO, Megawatt-X

Laurent is a Franco-British financier, founder of Megawatt-X, the London-based global platform for Renewable Energy Assets. For the past twenty years, Laurent has been trading and managing...

  • Member since 2019
  • 190 items added with 177,414 views
  • Aug 31, 2021

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  • Life-time extensions and the operation of ageing nuclear power plants increase nuclear risks in Europe.
  • Ageing processes increase the risk of transients and accidents.
  • All pan-EU ageing power plant concepts are, in practice, outdated in terms of safety.
  • Many nuclear power plants are operated beyond the limit of the original technical design and at an outdated technical level.
  • New threats have emerged.
  • To justify life-time extensions original safety margins are reduced.
  • The old plants cannot be licensed according to today’s standards.
  • The statement that the safety of old nuclear power plants has been continuously improved by retrofitting is misleading.
  • There are limits to retrofitting on principle. Major conceptual weaknesses of old nuclear power plants remain.
  • The possibilities of ageing management are limited.
  • Retrofitting and repairs in old plants lead to additional risks 
  • Lack of documentation and loss of know-how and know-why make it difficult to assess the safety of old plants.
  • The risks of old plants must be known in order to assess their safety.
  • Lack of transparency makes it difficult for third parties to assess risks.
  • There is no established possibility for transboundary participation, although the risks may have transboundary consequences.
  • There is no independent international review body and no internationally binding rules for the implementation of safety requirements for old plants.


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Aug 31, 2021

Interesting list and report, Laurent-- thanks for sharing. How many of these conclusions are exclusive to nuclear vs. points that would apply to any sort of power plant as well? It seems like a good amount of these could apply to aging coal or gas plants as well and across the board we need better accountability and risk-assessment processes

Laurent Segalen's picture
Laurent Segalen on Aug 31, 2021

I agree Matt. Those multi decade old plants are almost impossible to fix... but nuclear adds several other layers of complexity.
Currently EDF has to retire some UK plants a few years prior the end of their license because they cannot simply be operated safely.
Same stuff in Belgium
Be well

Laurent Segalen's picture
Thank Laurent for the Post!
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