#Astrid : une chance pour le climat et pour la France.
Summary: While the latest IPCC report once again warns of the need
to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the abandonment of the greenhouse gas
development of the 4th generation Astrid reactor prototype, without any real foundation economic, would mark the sad resignation of our country against a technology that should be crucial in the fight against climate change.
At COP21, the IPCC had imposed on energy scenarios worthy of inclusion in its report (the 5th of its kind) to limit the RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) to 2.6 W / m2
corresponding to an increase in average temperature of the earth’s surface of 2 ° C since 1850. To meet this limit, cumulative CO2 emissions should not exceed 900 billion tons in 2100.
COP21 decided to study the consequences of reducing the acceptable increase to
1.5 ° C. Scenarios that may meet this limit are described in SR15 Special Report October 9, 2018. With this new limit, cumulative emissions of CO2 should not be to exceed 600 billion tonnes in 2100.
The International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna has realized the family of
MESSAGE scenarios2 characterized by a population of 9.5 billion in 2100 and a GDP of $ 366,000 billion (compared to $ 45,237 billion in 2010):
– The Supply scenario is in line with current developments with consumption global energy end of 755 EJ / year 3 in 2100 (343 in 2010).
– The Efficiency scenario is an “ecological” scenario of nuclear output with a final energy consumption of 427 EJ / year in 2100.
“Nuclearized” variants of the Supply and Efficiency scenarios, indicated here by the suffix -N, have
published by the GISOC group (Global Initiative to Save Our Climate) 4
. These two scenarios are cited in the IPCC Special Report SR15.
1 A PWR of 2.6 W / m2 means that the additional heat received on average by the Earth’s surface due to the effect of greenhouse is equivalent to that which would be received if the average solar irradiation of 340 W / m2 was increased by 2.6 W / m2
Such an increase would correspond to an increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s surface by 2 degrees Celsius.
2 GEA Scenario database, Version 2.0.2,
3 1 EJ = 24 Mtep = 277 TWh
Without special measures, the Supply scenario would lead to a cumulative total of 2700 billion tons of CO2 in 2100, 3 times higher than the limit set by the IPCC, which would lead to
increase in the average surface temperature by more than 5 degrees. This scenario is, obviously, unacceptable. The reduction in final consumption proposed by the scenario Efficiency improves the situation by limiting cumulative emissions to 1480 billion tons of CO2,
value still far too high.
The IIASA researchers then massively introduced the technique of capturing CO2 storage (CSC) after combustion. At the cost of an annual storage of 24 billion tons of CO2, the scenario
Supply limits cumulative CO2 emissions to 1075 billion tons. The same performance is obtained with the Efficiency scenario thanks to an annual storage of 15 billion tons of CO2. The CSC’s current experiments do not exceed a few million tonnes per year, 3 orders of magnitude less than what would be necessary.
In its variant of the Supply scenario, the GISOC group proposes to substitute the production electricity from fossil plants equipped with CCS, that of nuclear power plants. The scenarios of GISOC suppose a multiplication of global wind power by 80, solar power by 300, and nuclear power by 50, the use of fossil fuels disappearing in 2060.
The sum of the CO2 emissions of the Supply-N scenario is then 948 billion tonnes of CO2, lower than the Efficiency Scenario with CSC, while the final allowable consumption is
identical to that of the Supply scenario (ie 755 EJ / year against 427 EJ / year). The limit of 900 Gt would be
practically reached. The capture and storage of CO2 from the atmosphere would prevent exceed the 600 Gt required to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees by having
use of appropriate biomass management.
An increase in nuclear power by a factor of 50 assumes the widespread use of breeder reactors (Super-Phénix type) in 2100 to avoid depletion of reserves of uranium5
. The proposed reactor construction rate is 100 GWe / year between 2020 and 2040, reaching 300 / year in 2100. These figures may seem unrealistic. And yet … the example French shows that they have nothing impossible. To limit global warming to a value
“Liveable”, it would be, from 2025, to generalize to all major industrial countries the effort undertaken by our country between the years 1975 and 2000.
At the time of the decision taken, for purely political reasons, to stop Super Phenix, the France was the reference for SFR6
. This judgment had, of course, a catastrophic effect on
the teams, even though the operation and experiments made on the prototype Phenix of 250 MW
maintained a competence in the matter until the shutdown of this reactor in 2010 after 40 years of
good and loyal services. So that this extraordinary skill is not entirely passed by profit and loss, the CEA undertook to study the ASTRID project as part of the program
Generation 4. This project received a budget of around € 600 million and occupied around 500 engineers and technicians. It seems that the end of the program is envisaged by the new CEA management, thus signaling the renunciation of mastering a technology that will most likely be key to during the century, when Russia (which had taken leadership in the field after stopping Superphenix), India, and China have dynamic reactor construction programs.
This sad resignation from our country will be just one more example of our deindustrialisation since ASTRID, with a posted cost of 5 billion euros would have been almost completely realized in France, while giant wind turbines and photovoltaic panels that benefit from a annual financing of 5 billion euros are almost entirely imported. The courtyard
accounts has shown that the billions of euros taken from the energy bill of the French to support the construction of wind turbines and photovoltaic installations, had no
positive influence on the electrical system of our country, on the contrary, that they did not diminish
CO2 emissions and did not encourage research. To think that it would be enough to devote a year of this mess to allow our country to join the leading pack in the development of a crucial technology for the control of global warming building ASTRID leaves him speechless. Let’s hope that this stupid abandonment will itself be abandoned.
Otherwise, those who have been to the maneuver will carry an overwhelming responsibility
only with regard to the loss of scientific and industrial status of our country but, also, regarding the provision of indispensable tools in the fight against change
4 http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJGEI.2017.10000873 and doi: 10.1504 / IJGEI.2017.086622.
5 Uranium efficiency is 100 times better with SFRs than with PWRs. It is then possible to exploit
very low-grade deposits, such as extracting it from seawater. Oceans contain 4 billion tonnes
Uranium renewing itself at a rate of 20,000 tons per year thanks to the contributions of the rivers. Usage efficiency divides
also by 100 the volume of nuclear waste.
6 Sodium Fast Reactor in French: Neutrons Rapides Reactor (RNR) cooled with Sodium. Note that these reactors
produce 100 times less waste than pressurized water reactors, and they have the capacity to burn waste
more problematic (minor actinides).