Nuclear Energy Production in France

Effects of Drought and Heatwaves

What do the results tell us?

The results show that the economy of France can be significantly affected by water coolant loss for nuclear stations as a result of drought and heatwaves, with that loss being significant even under optimistic RCPs but becoming very large in the decades surrounding 2100. Economic losses are on the scale of tens of billions of euros per decade in all three time periods. Losses are markedly higher in 2100, approximately doubling above the baseline and 2050 values. Adaptation strategies reduce these losses significantly after 2050, by between 5 billion euros (Adaptation Option 1) and 15 billion euros (Adaptation Option 2), suggesting a cost-benefit calculation would call for adaptation investments on this scale.

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What can we do with the results?

The results can help decision-makers – both government and in the power sector – identify the key points of vulnerability of the economy to power loss, and to direct adaptation funds so they produce the greatest reduction in the vulnerability of the country's economy to extreme weather events. This can be done by adjusting the Sector Vulnerability Matrix so production sectors are less reliant on grid power and by allocating the residual power production in a way that minimises overall economic loss while meeting obligations under power contracts both domestically and in the export market.

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How are the results obtained?

Results were obtained using an input-output model of France's economy, linked to climate projections supplied by the partners at University of East Anglia. The input-output used data (provided by EdF) on the power decline during the 2003 and 2006 drought/heatwaves were used to model the links between climate and power production. The model was then used to simulate the expected frequency of 2003/2006 conditions (or deeper droughts/heatwaves) in 2050 and 2100, and then to follow both the direct and indirect economic impacts of this loss in power during the period when the coolant water conditions were insufficient to meet demand in the power stations.

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What are the broader applications?

The same methodology can be applied to any community, nation or region for which the necessary input-output data and water-cooled power production data are available. Since the input-output data contain all economic sectors, the methodology can be applied to any sector for which the Sector Vulnerability Matrix can be supplied.

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Key Messages and Conclusions

Adaptation strategies can significantly reduce economic losses by water coolant loss

The economy of France can be significantly affected by water coolant loss, with that loss being significant even under optimistic RCPs but becoming very large in the decades surrounding 2100. Economic losses are on the scale of tens of billions of euros per decade in all three time periods. Adaptation strategies reduce these losses significantly after 2050, by between 5 and 15 billion euros (Adaptation Option 2).

(Click on chart image to explore the data)

GDP loss in billions of 2012 euros per decade in case of no adaptation (option 0) and 2 different adaptation strategies. 

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