Credit: EDF

On Thursday 18 April 2024, Greenpeace Luxembourg announced that a new analysis the group commissioned showed that planned upgrades to France's 1,300 MWe reactors were not sufficient to meet official safety requirements for modern nuclear power plants.

This issue affects reactor 1 at Cattenom, which will reach the limit of its initial lifespan in 2026, i.e. 40 years. Greenpeace Luxembourg called for the final closure of the reactor at the end of this period.

At the start of 2024, the first public consultation was launched in France on the subject of extending the lifespan of the nuclear power plants in service, equipped with 1,300 MWe reactors. These are reactors whose safety concept dates from the early 1970s, a time when the requirements in this area were much lower than today. The initial operation of these reactors was planned for 40 years, and there was no question of operating them beyond that, Greenpeace emphasised.

It appears from the study commissioned by Greenpeace that reactor no 1 at Cattenom, like all French power plants equipped with 1,300 MWe reactors, presents serious safety deficits concerning the French and international requirements currently applied. Cattenom is faced with a lack of redundancy in safety systems, insufficient protection of installations against natural events (extreme temperatures over long periods, floods, storms, etc), as well as against accidents such as terrorist attacks or plane crashes.

The modernisation of power plants equipped with 1,300 MWe reactors as well as the planned upgrades are not enough to remedy these significant safety defects,” Greenpeace Luxembourg emphasised.

Roger Spautz, founding member and nuclear campaign manager of Greenpeace Luxembourg confirmed: “In view of the defects, uncertainties and risks, we must prevent the extension of the lifespan of Cattenom 1. An operating authorisation beyond the expiration of the 40-year lifespan represents a risk for everyone's safety.