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France's example of ensuring nuclear safety


03-30-2016 13:00 BJT

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One good example of nuclear power use is France. The majority of the nation's electricity supply comes from nuclear power. We take a look at its safety conditions and how they are being guaranteed.

France has been developing nuclear energy since 1970s. Today, nuclear-generated electricity makes up some three-quarters of the overall amount. The low cost makes France the world's largest net exporter of electricity.

In 2006, the Nuclear Safety Authority, or ASN, an independent administrative authority, was set up. The body regulates nuclear safety and radiation protection as risks involved in nuclear activities.

"In 2015, France altogether has over 100 Level One nuclear incidents. Level One is the lowest level and the quantity is normal. Our evaluation of France's nuclear safety shows that the condition now is generally satisfying.  One nuclear administrative body should not be completely satisfied -- there's always room to make improvements," Jean-Luc Lachaume, deputy director general of ASN, said.

For ASN, nuclear safety involves the cooperation of the independent administrative body, the nuclear operator and the government. Emergency plans are made before anything happens.

"The French government and operators already had emergency plans before the Fukushima nuclear disaster. And after that incident, we've made these plans more flexible and feasible. For years, we've simulated stress tests, and all the related bodies are required to take part," Lachaume said.

Lachaume says dozens of stress tests are launched each year. The national emergency center of the ASN will be responsible for coordination whenever a nuclear incident happens.

"We'll gather information here and decide what measures to take," Lachaume said.

There are not only experts practicing the technical measures.ASN also establishes a special team for press releases and public communication. They practise how to let the public understand the degree of danger, and the relevant emergency measures. Regulation, inspection and information makes up France's nuclear safety system.

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