2 – What’s really done there ?

What are the activities done there ?

We’ve seen the CEA is the actor of research : they design the reactors of tomorrow, innovate to create more effective and nature-respectful energies.

But if they don’t create energy, what do they do with their multitude of reactors ?

The CEA creates elements for medical purposes : what they do on the core of the Julorowitz’s reactor. Test fuel and materials for the next generation of reactors.

The second mission is produce radio-elements (radioisotopes) (40% of the world drug needs)
For instance : creating drugs for cancer.

We own a reactor of 100 MW, of the same size as a classic reactor. So there’s risk of earthquakes, crash of a plane etc…
The level of protection for research reactors is now the same for nuclear power plant. – Says the guide

Another reactor : Rhapsody.

Rhapsody, nicknamed « rapid sodium » was the first reactor to start in France curing the 60’s with the particularity to have a sodium loop. It has been shut downed in 1983 and is no totally dismantled.

It was the first of its generation and the dome is only made of iron (we now do it in concrete).
It was create in 6 years. It’s incredible :

Now, it would take 36 years to build a new reactor due to security checks. – Says the guide.

How are those reactors cooled ?

They pump the water in the « Canal de Provence » (river) at the east they release to the west in the « Canal EDF ».

Life time of reactors :

It’s mainly regarding to the laws that the reactor shutdown after a time. According to the guide, they can stay in activity for a much longer time.

In France, nuclear power plants are limited to 40 years (with an extra 10 years if needed).
In the US, it’s 60 years (they want to expand to 80 years).

Question :

When you start a nuclear plant, is it never shut down or only shut down during one or two months for maintenance needs ? – Amaël asks.

In the case of a research reactor, we can stop the reactor every day as they’re not powerful reactors. – The guide answer.