The biggest nuclear power plants in France

16 September 2019 (Last Updated February 6th, 2020 13:21)

Nuclear energy accounts for approximately three-fourth of the total electricity generation in France. The Western European country currently operates 58 reactors across 20 sites, apart from an under-construction reactor at Flamanville. Power-technology profiles the ten biggest nuclear power plants in France based on net capacity.

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10. Chooz B Nuclear Power Station – 3,000MW

9. Dampierre Nuclear Power Plant – 3,560MW

8. Bugey Nuclear Power Station – 3,580MW

7. Chinon Nuclear Power Station – 3,620MW

6. Blayais Nuclear Power Plant – 3,640MW

5. Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant – 3,660MW

4. Cruas Nuclear Power Plant – 3,660MW

3. Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant – 5,200MW

2. Paluel Nuclear Power Plant – 5,320MW

1. Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant – 5,460MW

10. Chooz B Nuclear Power Station – 3,000MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
The Chooz B nuclear power station was commissioned in September 2000. Image courtesy of Raimond Spekking.

The 3,000MW Chooz B nuclear power station is owned and operated by EDF, as well as located at Chooz in the Ardennes department in northern France. The facility has been operational since 2000.

Built on a 200ha site on the banks of Meuse River, approximately 10km away from Givet, the Chooz B nuclear power plant consists of two new-generation N4 REP 1450 PWR units of 1,500MW net capacity each.

Construction works on the Chooz B plant were started in January 1984 while both units of the facility were brought into commercial operations by September 2000. The Chooz nuclear power site was originally developed with a 320MW PWR unit named Chooz A in 1967. The unit was permanently shut down in October 1991.

9. Dampierre Nuclear Power Plant – 3,560MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
The 3,560MW Dampierre nuclear power plant located at Dampierre-en-Burly, France.

At a 3,560MW net installed capacity, the Dampierre nuclear power plant located at Dampierre-en-Burly, Loiret, in the Centre-Val de Loire region of north-central France. It ranks as the eighth biggest nuclear power plant in the country.

Owned and operated by EDF, the Dampierre nuclear power station is built on a 180ha site on the right bank of the Loire River. It houses four 890MW PWR units commissioned between 1980 and 1981.

Construction works on the plant were started in 1975, while the first power was generated in 1980. The Dampierre nuclear power plant generates an average of 24 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, which accounts for more than 5% of the country’s total nuclear power generation capacity.

8. Bugey Nuclear Power Station – 3,580MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
The Bugey nuclear power station comprises two 910MW and two 880MW reactor units. Image courtesy of SeeSchloss.

EDF’s Bugey nuclear power station is located at Saint-Vulbas, in the Ain department in eastern France. Situated on a 100ha site on the right bank of Rhone River, the Bugey nuclear energy centre has an installed capacity of 3,580MW.

The plant consists of four PWR units, out of which two are of 910MW capacity and the remaining two are of 880MW capacity.

The 910MW units of the plant commenced commercial operations in March 1979 while the 880MW units were respectively commissioned in July 1979 and January 1980. The Bugey site was originally developed with a 540MW GCR unit, which was permanently shut down in May 1994.

7. Chinon Nuclear Power Station – 3,620MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
The Chinon nuclear power plant has a net installed capacity of 3,620MW. Image courtesy of Duch.gege.

The 3,620MW Chinon nuclear power station is located in the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Nature Park at Avoine, in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France.

Built on a 155ha site, the Chinon nuclear power plant consists of four 905MW PWR units commissioned between 1984 and 1988. The Chinon site previously housed three gas-cooled reactor (GCR) units of 70MW, 180MW, and 360MW capacities, which were decommissioned between 1973 and 1990.

Owned and operated by EDF, the Chinon nuclear power plant produced 24.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2018, accounting for approximately 6.3% of the country’s total nuclear power generation during the year.

6. Blayais Nuclear Power Plant – 3,640MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
Blayais is the fifth-biggest nuclear power plant in France. Image courtesy of Pierre-Alain Dorange.

The Blayais nuclear power station located at Braud-et-Saint-Louis, in the Gironde department of Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in south-western France is also owned and operated by EDF.

The 3,640MW facility is installed with four 910MW PWR units commissioned between 1981 and 1983. Construction works on the nuclear power station were started in 1977.

The Blayais nuclear power plant generated 26 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2018, accounting for approximately two-thirds of the annual electricity needs of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.

5. Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant – 3,660MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
The Tricastin nuclear power plant consists of four 915MW PWR units. Image courtesy of Marianne Casamance.

The Tricastin nuclear power plant located at Pierrelatte, in the Drôme department in south-eastern France, is owned and operated by EDF.

The plant consists of four 915MW PWR units, which were commissioned between 1980 and 1981.

Construction works on the Tricastin nuclear power facility were started in November 1974. The first two units of the power station began commercial operations in December 1980 while the remaining two units were commissioned in May and November 1981.

4. Cruas Nuclear Power Plant – 3,660MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
The Cruas nuclear power plant has a net installed capacity of 3,660MW.

The Cruas nuclear power plant located on the right bank of the Rhône River in Ardèche, France, has been operational since 1984. The 3,660MW nuclear energy facility is owned and operated by EDF.

The Cruas nuclear power station consists of four 915MW PWR units commissioned between 1983 and 1985. The four-reactor facility accounts for more than one-third of the annual power usage in the Rhône-Alpes region.

EDF started construction of the Cruas nuclear power plant in August 1978. The first two units of the plant were connected to grid in 1983 and 1984 while units three and four were respectively commissioned in September 1984 and February 1985.

3. Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant – 5,200MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
Cattenom is the third biggest nuclear power plant in France. Image courtesy of Stefan Kühn.

The 5,200MW Cattenom nuclear power plant located in Grand Est, Cattenom, in north-eastern France, is the world’s eighth-biggest nuclear power station. EDF is the owner and operator of the facility.

The Cattenom power station is developed with four 1,300MW PWR units commissioned between 1987 and 1991.

Construction works for the Cattenom nuclear power facility were started in 1979. The first two units of the plant were commissioned in November 1986 and September 1987 while the third and fourth units respectively came online in July 1990 and May 1991.

2. Paluel Nuclear Power Plant – 5,320MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
At a 5,320MW net installed capacity, Paluel is the second biggest French nuclear power plant. Image courtesy of Bodoklecksel.

The Paluel nuclear power plant located in Normandy, France, approximately 40km away from Dieppe, is the second biggest nuclear power station in France and the seventh biggest in the world by net capacity.

The 5,320MW facility is developed on a 160ha-site on the waterfront of the English Channel. Owned and operated by EDF, it comprises four 1,330MW PWR units.

EDF started construction on the Paluel nuclear power station in 1977. The first two reactor units of the plant were commissioned in 1984 while the third and fourth units were respectively connected to the grid in 1985 and 1986.  Paluel is the second-largest French NPP, after Gravelines.

1. Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant – 5,460MW

The biggest nuclear power plants in France
Gravelines is the biggest nuclear power plant in France. Image courtesy of Douchet Quentin.

Located 48km away from Dover on the French coast between Calais and Dunkirk, the Gravelines nuclear power plant is the biggest nuclear energy facility in France. With a 5,460MW net installed capacity, Gravelines also ranks as the sixth biggest nuclear power station in the world.

Owned and operated by the French state-owned utility Electricite De France (EDF), the Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant comprises six 910MW pressurised water reactors (PWR) units commissioned between 1980 and 1985.

Built on a 150ha-site in northern France, the six-reactor facility delivered its 1,000 billionth kilowatt-hour of electricity in 2010.