Nuclear Power plants in France

A nuclear power plant is a thermal power station in which the heat source is a nuclear reactor.



Flamanville, source :


In France, the first experimental reactor was set up in 1956 in Marcoule. The president, Charles de Gaulle accelerated a nuclear program in 1958 but nuclear power did not play any substantial role in the energy sector until the oil crisis which occurred in the 1970’s

From 1966 to 1991: 6 reactors were installed: three in Chinon, two in Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux and one in Bugey.

Different kinds of reactors

The first type of reactor was UNGG. It means Natural Uranium Graphite Gas. Now the new process is called PWR and means Pressurized Water Reactor.

The actual type of reactor is EPR: European Pressurized Reactor. The first one is being built in Flamanville in “la Manche”

Plants and location

In 2015 there are 19 operational plants with 58 nuclear reactors. 34 reactors are installed with the power of 900 MW, 20 are implanted with the power of 1,300 MW and 4 reactors with 1450 MW exist.

All these reactors were built from 1970 to 2000.

Nuclear plants are always located near water, either near a river or near the sea. Most of the reactors are over 20 years.

French electricity generation

In 2012, the French electricity production was 541.5 TWh and nuclear power was the first source of production with 404.9 TWh.


  • In Europe:

European subsidies are of 35 billion euros

  • In France:

Since 1950: French subsidies are of 228 billion (96 billion for nuclear reactors and 55 for research and development)

In 2012: The average cost of a Mwh was 49, 5 € and French people paid 31€ for it.

 Security of supply



  • Operator: EDF & Areva
  • Politics:

The Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development and Energy

  • Research:

CEA: Atomic Energy and alternative energies Commission

  • Safety:

ASN: Nuclear Safety Authority,

The Commission defines ASN’s general nuclear safety and radiation protection policy.

IAEA: International Atomic Energy Agency
162 countries belong to IAEA
IAEA was created in 1957 and France ratified in 1957

  • Development:

NEA: Nuclear Energy Agency
It is an agency of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development

  • Association:

FSNE: French Society for Nuclear Energy

Nuclear decommissioning


  • Fukushima: 11 March 2011
  • Nuclear waste
  • Drone issue: November 2014


The process whereby a nuclear power plant site is dismantled to the point that it no longer requires measures for radiation protection

In France:

10 reactors are being dismantled
the first reactor which was dismantled is the Brennilis plant (since 1985)
A famous example is Fessenheim.

Methods of decommissioning

IAEA: 3 options for decommissioning nuclear power stations:

Immediate dismantling: the power plant is defuelled, dismantled and decontaminated after shutdown. The staff can help with their skills and experience to the process, and the site can be made available for re-use quickly.

Safe enclosure (also known as Safestore): high-level radioactive are removed elsewhere. The defuelled power station is monitored for 40–80 years. The decontamination and dismantling are simpler and safer.

Entombment: all the radioactive material is gathered in one part of the power station, which is sealed to contain the radioactivity until it reaches a safe level.

Waste issues

In Finland an unbelievable project has been taking place in Olkiluoto. Thousand tons of radioactive wastes will be stored under the ground in a tunnel. It is not science fiction.  This tunnel will have to be sealed for 100, 000 years. This project has no sense and seems totally dangerous. How are we going to explain to the next generation that they must not open the tunnel.

Digging the tunnel will be finished by 2020 and for 100 years they will be able to stock the whole radioactive wastes of Finland.






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1 réponse

  1. Grégoire dit :

    Pour en savoir bien davantage sur les réacteurs nucléaires en France :

    Avec l’âge, la puissance et la production de chaque réacteur.

    D’autres informations dans le dossier sur le nucléaire.

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