EDF examine confirms very low carbon nature of nuclear : Vitality & Atmosphere

20 June 2022

Every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electrical energy produced by EDF’s reactor fleet in France emits the equal of lower than 4 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2), in line with a life cycle evaluation (LCA) revealed by the corporate. The evaluation reveals most of those emissions happen within the upstream phases of the life cycle.

The six-unit Gravelines nuclear energy plant in northern France (Picture: EDF)

EDF mentioned the examine – revealed on 16 June – was carried out on the nuclear fleet in operation, and in line with a standardized methodology. “It’s built-in and relates not solely to the local weather change criterion, but in addition to 9 different environmental affect standards, to be able to assess not solely the transfers between levels of the life cycle, but in addition between standards,” it famous.

“The LCA methodology is standardized, its implementation requires nice rigor and the gathering of a substantial quantity of knowledge for which the professions have been strongly solicited,” EDF mentioned. “This examine was critically reviewed by a panel of impartial consultants, whose complementarity met the necessities of ISO 14044 and ISO/TS14071.”

These consultants contemplate “that the outcomes supplied reply adequately and credibly to the targets talked about and that they’ve been established in compliance with the requirements talked about”.

The scope of the examine contains knowledge from EDF’s nuclear fleet in 2019: 34 900 MW reactors, of which 22 use mixed-oxide (MOX) gasoline, 20 1300 MW reactors, and 4 1450 MW reactors. It subsequently takes into consideration the manufacturing of the 2 Fessenheim models, shut down in 2020. The examine doesn’t consider the transmission of electrical energy.

The evaluation discovered that electrical energy generated by the fleet emitted a complete of three.7g CO2 equal per kWh. The upstream phases of the cycle account for 57% of those emissions, whereas the ‘manufacturing’ stage represents 28%. Development represents 16%, with the primary contributors being cement (6%), non-alloy metal (3%) and reinforcing metal (2%). Decommissioning represents solely a marginal share: 3%, whereas exploitation represents 9%.

Sensitivity research present {that a} 60-year reactor working life reduces the carbon footprint by 8% (3.4g CO2/kWh) in contrast with a 40-year working life. The affect of a ten% change in annual electrical energy manufacturing in contrast with 2019 is 0.1 g CO2/kWh, EDF mentioned. The corporate concludes that the general sensitivity presents a variety of two.9-4.6g CO2 eq/kWh.

EDF mentioned the results of the LCA “confirms the very low carbon nature of this power. The examine additionally goals to determine essentially the most environment friendly environmental enchancment actions and is a part of an environmental administration goal. It goals at a greater understanding of the contributions of every step.”

The corporate famous the reference determine for nuclear energy on the worldwide degree is that of the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change: 12g CO2 eq/kWh. In France, the Company for the Atmosphere and Vitality Administration (Ademe), in its database, estimates the emissions of a nuclear kWh at 6g of CO2. By comparability, the emissions from gas-fired energy vegetation are estimated once more by Ademe at 418g CO2 per kWh and people from coal-fired energy vegetation at 1058g CO2 per kWh. As for renewable energies, the kWh in France is round 10g for wind power and 30g for photovoltaic photo voltaic power.

In early 2018, the EDF group made a dedication to cut back its direct CO2 emissions (excluding the life cycle evaluation of producing plant and gasoline) by 2030 by 40% in contrast with 2017, aiming to deliver them down from 51 million tons to 30 million tons by 2030. In February 2020, it made a dedication to attain carbon neutrality by 2050.

EDF mentioned the electrical energy it produces in France is greater than 97% CO2-free, because of nuclear energy and renewable energies. It has 56 reactors in operation and one below building.

The group’s nuclear output in France in Could 2022 amounted to twenty.5 TWh, down 7.0 TWh in contrast with Could 2021. For the reason that starting of the yr, the cumulative output amounted to 133.9 TWh, down by 20.1 TWh year-on-year resulting from a decrease availability of the nuclear fleet primarily in relation to the affect of the detection of indications of stress corrosion.

Researched and written by World Nuclear Information

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