Belleville nuclear in France undergoing generator maintenance

LERE, FRANCE - French utility Electricite de France is performing maintenance work on the generator of one of its two 1,310-megawatt (MW) units at the Centrale Nucleaire de Belleville plant in Lere in central France.

The plant is equipped with two Framatome cold-cooling-system nuclear reactors, both commissioned between 1988 and 1989. It is one of 19 nuclear sites in France, with two of the country's 58 operational reactors.

Work on the generator's stator, which is being performed on Unit 2, began on May 23 and is expected to last about 65 days.

In August, the unit will undergo its second statutory outage since its commissioning in 1989. During this inspection, which is performed every 10 years, authorities carry out several controls that allow the facility to continue operating under legal safety requirements. Some of the required controls are the hydraulic proofs of the primary circuit and a checkup of the reactor's vessel.

Unit 1 is expected to be offline for refueling for 12-18 months after Unit 2's planned outages. Unit 1 is scheduled to have its 10-year inspection and maintenance in March 2010.

The work on the generator, to be executed by Alstom, are part of what French authorities called a "relaunch plan" for the country's, where EDF has several projects. Therefore, a rewind of generators was also announced for Unit 1 of the Blayais Nuclear Power Station and for the Nogent Nuclear Power Plant. The unit at the Blayais plant recently had its steam generators replaced.

Regarding investments in installed base-load capacity, 2009 also represents an important year for EDF, which continues with plans to build a second European pressurized reactor (EPR). The first is Flamanville 3, which is currently under construction. It was recently reported that Total SA would join GDF Suez SA to hold 33% of the construction of the second EPR project in Penly.


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