Belleville (France)

Map of Belleville

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2 * 1300 MW PWR constructed by Framatome
grid connection in 1987/88.

Facilities in Belleville

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down

Electricite de France (EDF) seems likely to have five big PWRs on line again this fall, averting a potential expensive supply shortfall during winter peak demand.
In late June, EDF said that, with the forced outage of three 1,450 MW units at Chooz and Chivaux, and planned outages at other plants, the refusal of French authorities to allow restart of Belleville-1 and -2 could cost it up to 2 billion French francs. Last month, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin decided the Belleville units could restart on condition EDF promised to fix their containments by the end of next year. Belleville-1 restarted October 3, and Belleville-2 is scheduled to restart this week.


Jospin will decide by September 15 whether Electricite de France (EDF) can restart the two 1,300-MW-class PWRs at Belleville.
The prime minister is forced to arbitrate on the Belleville restart issue because the two ministers who control nuclear licensing, Environment´s Dominique Voynet and Industry´s Christian Pierret, don´t agree on the risk posed by operation of the Belleville units with inner containments that don´t meet the statutory leak rate.
The Belleville issue is the latest of a series of conflicts that have split Voynet and Pierret, paralyzing a number of important nuclear-related decisions in Jospin´s government.
EDF has made the restart a cause celebre, circulating an analysis that suggests keeping the Belleville units down for a year would cost at least 1,5-billion francs (U.S.$250-million).


Since EDF plans to repair all containments of its large PWRs. (see also Catenom-2) it has admitted that at Belleville NPP the inner containment leakage problem is severe.The nature of the local sand and errors in construction led to a containment that didn´t meet the leak-rate test even before operation began.


Two incidents happened June 11 during a periodic test that was supposed to simulate operation of the containment spray. Instead, the spray activated, sending borated water into the containment.

The fact that the containment spray and control rod jam occurred practically simultaneously led French regulatory authority DSIN and EDF to agree to classify the event tandem at Ines Level 2.

EDF did not yet know for sure why the containment spray had gone off. Its activation was accompanied by an automatic order for containment isolation that stopped cooling to and operation of the main coolant pumps, lowering system temperature and pressure. During the load drop that preceded the automatic reactor scram, one of the 65 regulation rods remained blocked at the top of the core. It then failed to drop during the scram. The rod jammed because of a broken bolt in the control rod drive mechanism.


RCS pressure droped from 15,5 MPa to 15,1 MPa when a control room operator inadvertently turned the wrong actuator and opened a pressure relief valve. The operator realized immediately the error and closed the valve after 3 secondary, but the valve failed to close perfectly and the reactor had to be stopped for valve repair.


Radioactive release because of the opening of a safety valve during filling of a liquid effluent storage tank - during refueling outage. Release was said to
be < 1/10 000 of the annual limit, but was not detected by the working crew.


During a periodic test at full power the two turbine driven pumps of the SG emergency FW started after a backup DG stopped. Cause was a defect in the temperature control.


During refueling it was discovered that the ultimate backup power source to be used in station blackout was inoperable. Cause: improper electrical cabling which hadn't been revealed during periodic tests !


The temperature of the air in the RPV well exceeded the limit of 75° C for about 10 days before it was discovered. Incident was caused by a failure of a valve in the air ventilation when the reactor was restarted after refueling.


10 m3 of non-borated water were injected by mistake into the RCS because of an error in estimating the level of water in a feed tank.


Defective welds on auxiliary piping in the LPI system discovered during testing. The small diameter piping was found to have cracked under vibration induced fatigue due to periodic testing. Cracks were detected on both trains of the system. Similar defects were found at Golfech-1 and Cattenom-3 and 4.


Simultaneous failure of two safety related systems: During outage two reactor vessel water level indicators gave false readings. If the errors had not been detected in time they could have led to damage to pumps during primary circuit draining and compromised reactor cooling.


Circumferential crack on pressurizer instrumentation penetration found.