The President of the Pays de la Loire Wants a Nuward SMR Plant

The regional president of the Pays de la Loire has reiterated the desire to host a Nuward plant on the site of the Cordemais coal plant. “I want our region to play a full part in the revival of French nuclear power,” she declared.

The Cordemais thermal power plant consists of two production units with a total capacity of 1,200 MW. It is called upon the electrical network during consumption peaks to ensure the balance of the electric grid, which is why it only produced 6% of the region’s electric consumption. The plant is set to close as part of the phase-out of coal (0.6% of the tricolour electric production in 2022). Subsequently, it will be converted to biomass, and the government has approved the construction of a wood pellet production plant (Ecocombust project) at the beginning of 2023. However, the regional president, Christelle Morançais (LR), wants to go further by hosting a Nuward plant. This involves the SMR project by the company of the same name, a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF. The plant comprises two modules of 170 MW each, for a total electrical power of 340 MW. A first reactor could start construction around 2030.

“Support the Economic Dynamism of the Region”

On October 3, 2023, during a study day dedicated to the prospects of the nuclear industry in the Pays de la Loire, the president of the region reaffirmed her interest in installing a small reactor at the Cordemais plant site. “I want to place the Pays de la Loire at the forefront of decarbonised energy production in France. The goal is clear: produce more green electricity around the sovereign mix nuclear/renewables. And let’s make the Cordemais site a reference for the new French energy model: nuclear/biomass/hydrogen,” she declared while emphasising the importance of the site for “the economic dynamism of the region.”

The mayor of Fessenheim, Claude Brender (unaffiliated), eager to maintain local economic activity despite the closure of the two Fessenheim reactors, has also repeatedly expressed his interest in such a project. No site has been announced yet, and elected officials have initiated these statements. They nevertheless demonstrate a strong interest in such facilities and their economic significance for the cities and regions that host them. ■

Gaïc Le Gros (Sfen)

Image: representation of a Nuward power station – ©EDF