After its best year of operation, Superphénix was finally closed in 1996, because of an electoral agreement with the Greens and legal disputes, particularly with the canton of Geneva in which these same greens were already involved.
Would this technology have been sold to Russia, as well as some of the sodium stocks, as some sources claim?
In any case, the Russian Rosatom has just been awarded the “Power Award2016” of the best nuclear power plant in the world for its BN 800 whose commercial exploitation has just started this November 1, 2016.
This breeder is thus reborn from the ashes of the fourth generation technology, fast neutrons with sodium cooling, abandoned just 20 years ago by France with the closure of Superphénix. This suggests thousands of years of available fuel and a big step forward in the treatment of waste.
This prize, awarded by the US press in Rosatom, concretizes the “spectacular breakthrough” of Russia since 2005, which made it the world leader in nuclear energy.
Russia has at the same time a basement full of oil, whose production has just exceeded that of Saudi Arabia. It is also the second largest producer of gas, while Europe, heavily dependent on it, remains at the mercy of diplomatic tensions, so all the more worrying that Russia has an alternative to the east. .
In France, the Atomic Energy Commission is working on the design of the equivalent of the Russian BN 800, the experimental reactor ASTRID (Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration) which could see the light at the earliest in 2025, after 30 years of interruption of the sector.
The hard awakening of France on its faded laurels
For having considered that its nuclear fleet represented a rent for life and required only a minimum of maintenance and a total absence of renewal, France is now faced with the obligation to bring several reactors into conformity.
And suddenly seems to realize that its 11000 MW wind supply electricity only in the wind and not the needs of consumption.
Risking thus to understand, at his own expense, that in the absence of this wind, it is the TOTALITY of the PILOTABLE power currently installed that the country needs.
Indeed, a supply disruption, in the event of a period of high anticyclonic cold (by definition, without wind), would have dramatic repercussions.
But at least it would highlight the little sense of the concept of competitiveness released from the comparison of a random MWh with a controllable MWh.
The services rendered by each of them being out of proportion.
The return to reality
According to a confidential report, consulted by The Guardian, the European Commission intends to reconsider the advantages granted to renewable energies, in order to allow more flexibility of production and more competitiveness.
If the Russians have oil, they seem to have more in the minds and remained unaffected by the mirror larks wind, if we believe their only 17 MW wind turbines installed since 2007, listed on the Windpower website.
Our lag in energy is certainly not the one we believe.