Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Closure of the plant of Fessenheim : a board of directors of EDF decisive – The World

The largest electricity group decides on Tuesday on the compensation offered by the State. The central works council has already issued a negative opinion.

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Demonstration in 2015 of the staff of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant.

The closing of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant (Haut-Rhin) has been one of the major soap operas on the politico-ecolo-economic of the quinquennium, such as Notre-Dame-des-Landes. But, unlike the postponement sine die of the work of the new airport of Nantes, the shutdown of the two reactors alsatian should be at least released before the departure of François Hollande to the Elysée.

beyond the month of may, it is the unknown. If the candidates in the primary on the left and Emmanuel Macron were in favour of a reduction of the share of nuclear power (75 % of the electricity) and the closure of the dean of the French plants (1978), the candidate of the right, François Fillon, is committed to maintain a business if he is elected president of the Republic.

A new chapter will be written Tuesday, January 24 : the board of directors of EDF decides on the compensation offered by the State to the group of electricity and its partners in germany and switzerland, co-financiers of the facilities. Or 100 million euros in a first time, and add-in function of the evolution of certain parameters, such as the price of electricity, which could bring the cost of operation for the State to more than $ 400 million. It is far from 80 million to 100 million for balance of any account originally proposed by the minister of the environment and energy, Ségolène Royal, who had suffered a categorical refusal of the CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy.

choosing between the two camps

But if the ” yes ” to the protocol for compensation prevails Tuesday, it will be of extreme accuracy. On ten-eight board members, six representatives of the State will not take part in the vote : they can’t decide on the amount negotiated with the public power without being in a conflict of interest. For their part, the six directors employees (CGT, CFDT, FO, CFE-CGC) have rejected a closure, which they considered contrary to the interests of the employees, of the company and of the local economic fabric.

Read also : “The French nuclear reactors is at the end of the race, dilapidated and strewn with pieces deficient”

Remain six independent directors, including Mr. Lévy, who has a casting vote to decide between the two camps. Among them, Laurence Parisot, the former president of Medef, was singled out, in July 2016, by its refusal to vote the investment of 16 billion euros in the two reactors EPR uk Hinkley Point. It is probably on this basis that a rumor : the vice-president of the institute IFOP would be willing to re-offend ! A refusal of the board of EDF would require the government to review its copy, an assumption unlikely to three months of maturity presidential.

It is only after a green light from its board that Mr. Lévy shall transmit to the State shareholder (85.6 %) a closure request. The government will then be able to make an order repealing the authorization to use Fessenheim. However, the plant will not produce current as long as the EPR of Flamanville (Manche), and its 1 650 megawatts (mW), will not be connected to the network – at the end of 2018, according to EDF. This will offset the 1 800 mW of the two reactors of alsace closed. The ability of electro-nuclear France will comply with the ceiling of 63.2 gigawatts (gW) registered in the law on the energy transition.

The battle is not finished

François Hollande, who has received Mr. Lévy at the beginning of January to take stock of the situation of the EDF, intends to initiate the closure process, because they have not been able to stop ” immediately “ the center during its five-year term as provided in the government agreement signed by the socialist Party and Europe Ecology-The Greens, in November 2011. A decision taken in extremis that he could be entered into the register of commitments kept. the ” The decree will be published in the weeks that follow, ” the vote of EDF, said the ministry of the environment.

For Ségolène Royal, it holds firmly to the shutdown of the plant. And it was clearly indicated to the chief executives of EDF and the independent directors, the only masters of the game, that without a positive vote, the State could exercise some retaliation by delaying two important decisions for the company : the extension of the decree of authorization of creation of the EPR at Flamanville beyond its due date of 10 April, which is mandatory because of the delays of the construction site ; and the publication of a decree necessary for the restart of the reactor n° 2 of the power plant of Paluel (Seine-Maritime), stopped since the fall of a steam generator to march 31, 2016.

once the death warrant of Fessenheim pronounced, it will always be possible for a new majority to go back on it

once the death warrant of Fessenheim pronounced, it will always be possible for a new majority to go over. Possible, but difficult. It will, in effect, trigger a long administrative process to revive this plant. For the time being, there is nothing to justify the closure of the two reactors alsatian : or economic reasons or a risk to safety. Nothing but the promise made once to political allies who are no longer.

The story : Fessenheim is preparing “unacceptable”

On the ground, the battle is not over. The elected members of the committee for the establishment of the plant sent an open letter to administrators. They argue that an early closing would be ” inconsistent “ after the Paris agreement in 2015 on climate (nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases) and ” irresponsible “ economically at the moment when EDF is very fragile, cannot deprive itself of a means of production ” cost-effective ” that was posted ” one of the best performance in terms of safety and production of nuclear power ” of 58 nuclear reactors.

employee ready to do anything to save the plant

The 850 employees of Fessenheim are very engaged and ready to do anything to save “their” plant. On January 10, the central works council (CCE) of the group, unanimously, issued a negative opinion against the early closure. Compensation considered ” silly “, job cuts at service providers, removal of EDF employees, risks to the balance of electricity supply… ” It is a central safe which the closure would be costly and socially dangerous “, said Jean-Luc Magnaval, secretary, CGT of CCE.

The representatives of the staff rely on three studies that are based on an operating assumption of sixty years (or even twenty years). A life that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has very often given to us plants. But its French counterpart, the French nuclear safety Authority, which has the reputation of being one of the “constables,” the most stringent in the world, judge Fessenheim fit for the service, even if the plant is in a flood zone and a seismic region. And, in the nuclear field, the age of a facility is not a criterion for science and industry. After the Fukushima disaster in march 2011, the cost of expensive works have been undertaken to strengthen its security.

Read also : Seven of the eight nuclear reactors of EDF to stop will restart before the end of December

The study’s financial firm Secafi indicates, moreover, that the loss of income for EDF would be between $ 1.6 billion and 6 billion euros, according to the wholesale price of electricity. The technical report prepared by the institute of Energy and development estimated that the substitution of coal (unlikely) and gas to nuclear power would result in the rejection of 7,89 million tons of CO2 every year. As to the social impact study carried out by the Syndex consultancy, it evaluates the loss of jobs to 2 000, half of which at suppliers and subcontractors.

lighting : France in the face of “issues of nuclear safety unprecedented.”


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