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EDF forced to temporarily shut nuclear plant

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EDF has had to temporarily shut its nuclear power plant at Tricastin in order to upgrade the facility’s capability to withstand an earthquake, following a request by the French nuclear safety authority, ASN.

The plant failed to pass certain safety tests involving above-average earthquakes for the region in the south of France.
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The shutdown will, say EDF, allow it to strengthen “a small section of the dyke located to the north of the power plant bordering the Donzère-Mondragon canal.”

“As an operator that takes responsibility for the safety of its installations, EDF does not share the view that the four reactors need to be shut down for the duration of the work. EDF will nevertheless implement the ASN decision without undue delay,” said the company in a statement.

EDF recently fended off government pressure to close its ageing Fessenheim nuclear plant, which will nevertheless face closure when the company’s facility at Flamanville, in northern France, is up and running at the end of 2018.

The Flamanville plant is already six years behind schedule, and costs have overrun by €7bn. The discovery in 2015 of weak spots in the steel prompted an extensive safety review by the ASN, which threatened the plant. However, in July, a group of experts at the French nuclear safety authority cleared it to start as planned next year.

Tricastin is expected to be back in operation in November.

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