Are French lives more important than SA lives? A recent research report by Tristen Taylor for the Heinrich Boll Foundation in Cape Town, which explores safety upgrades taking place at French nuclear power stations to extend their lives beyond their original decommissioning dates compared with what is happening at the Koeberg nuclear power station to extend its life, would suggest that they are. These nuclear power station lifetime extensions are commonly known as long-term operation (LTO) programmes.

French company Framatome built Koeberg’s two reactors to the exact same design as 18 reactors that are now having their lives extended in France. These reactors, known as pressurised water reactors (PWRs), account for almost 70% of all operational commercial reactors worldwide. The 18 PWRs in France and the two at Koeberg — all of which were built in the 1970s and 1980s — are known as Generation II reactors and were designed before the major nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island,...

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