Bugey chosen to host two EPR2 reactors

25 July 2023

The Bugey nuclear power plant site in eastern France has been selected by the country's Nuclear Policy Council for the installation of the third pair of EPR2 reactors, after the Penly and Gravelines sites.

The Bugey plant site (Image: EDF)

In February 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the time was right for a nuclear renaissance in France, saying the operation of all existing reactors should be extended without compromising safety and unveiling a proposed programme for six new EPR2 reactors, with an option for a further eight EPR2 reactors to follow.

EDF and Framatome are developing a simplified version of the EPR design, known as EPR2. Its aim is to incorporate design, construction and commissioning experience feedback from the EPR reactor, as well as operating experience from the nuclear reactors currently in service. EDF must ensure the financing and profitability of its proposed EPR2 reactor before starting construction of any plants based on the design in France, the country's state audit office has said.

In May 2021, EDF submitted to the State a proposal for the construction of the new EPR2 reactor programme in France. It proposes to build three pairs of EPR2 reactors, in order, at Penly, Gravelines and at either Bugey or Tricastin.

The Nuclear Policy Council - headed by President Macron - met on 19 July and said the Bugey site had now been chosen "with the support of local elected representatives". With the selection of Bugey, "the location of the first phase of the EPR2 construction programme has now been determined".

The Bugey plant currently comprises four operating 900 MWe pressurised water reactors - units 2-5 - that started up between 1978 and 1979. Bugey 1 was a gas-cooled reactor that was built from 1965 with its first grid connection in 1972. It was shut down permanently in 1994.

"Technical studies and analyses will continue on the Tricastin site with a view to hosting future nuclear reactors," said a statement from the Élysée Palace.

In late June, EDF announced it was seeking the necessary authorisations to construct two EPR2 reactors at the Penly site in Normandy, northern France.

EDF said it is now "engaged in the authorisation procedures required for the launch of the construction of the first pair of EPR2 reactors at Penly, as well as the administrative procedures for its completion and its link-up to the electricity grid".

The company aims to start preparatory work for the new reactors at Penly in mid-2024.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News