Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant

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Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant
Nuclear Power Plant Cattenom.jpg
Nuclear Power Station Cattenom
Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant is located in France
Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant
Location of Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant
Official name Centrale Nucléaire de Cattenom
Country France
Location Cattenom, Lorraine
Coordinates 49°24′57″N 6°13′5″E / 49.41583°N 6.21806°E / 49.41583; 6.21806Coordinates: 49°24′57″N 6°13′5″E / 49.41583°N 6.21806°E / 49.41583; 6.21806
Status Operational
Construction began 1979
Commission date November 13, 1986 (November 13, 1986)
Operator(s) EDF
Nuclear power station
Reactor type PWR
Reactor supplier Framatome
Cooling source Moselle River
Cooling towers 4
Power generation
Units operational 4 x 1,362 MW
Make and model Alstom
Nameplate capacity 5,448 MW
Capacity factor 71.4%
Annual output 34,084 GW·h
Site c/o EDF

The Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant is a nuclear power plant located in Grand Est in the Cattenom commune, France, on the Moselle River between Thionville (7 km upstream) and Trier (48 km downstream). It is close to the city of Luxembourg (22 km) and Metz (32 km).


The site consists of 4 pressurized water reactors that were all built between 1979 and 1991 and have an electric output of 1300 MW each, the plant is a relatively modern and large nuclear power plant. In 2006 it produced the third most electricity (34 TWh) of the nuclear plants in France behind Gravelines (38.5 TWh) and Paluel (34.9 TWh).

The plant employs about 1200 regular employees and about 1000 more during outage times.

The station received its ISO 14001 certification in 2005, and should have its ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001 in 2007.


The site uses 4 separate cooling towers which use 890,000,000 m3 (3.1×1010 cu ft) of water from the Moselle annually.[1] Additionally, a water reserve on site, Lake Mirgenbach, was created, the creation of this lake has led to the flooding of the subterranean portions of Ouvrage Kobenbusch, part of the Maginot Line. In 1985 an artificial lake was also created in the Pierre-Percée valley in the Vosges.

During the 2003 European heat wave the plant was permitted to pipe the waste heat water used for cooling directly into the Moselle river, the heating of the water in these cases is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius by prefectoral decree. Heating to 2.2 degrees was accidentally caused once.


  • In March 2001, the reactor building of Unit 3 was evacuated with 131 people, apparently due to a false alarm. No one was hurt and there were no radiation releases.[2]
  • Eight workers were exposed to radiation in March 2005.[3]
  • On March 12, 2008, an employee was exposed to about 1/20 of the annual maximum allowed dose.[4]
  • On 28 February 2013, two contract workers have died and a third seriously injured in an accident during maintenance work in a reactor building. They were working on a platform which appears to have become detached, dropping the workers several meters to the floor below.[5]
  • On June 7, 2013, the power transformer of unit 1 caught fire. The block turned itself off automatically and nobody was hurt.[6]
  • On June 11, 2013, the power transformer of unit 3 caught fire.[7] Polychlorinated biphenyl has been used in the construction of the transformer, which is known to be toxic and carcinogenic when inhaled.[8]
  • On the evening of January 31, 2017, around 10pm, an administrative building caught fire. The reactors were not shut down and continued normal operation after the fire. [9]

This list is not meant to be complete. The references include the official ASN list,[10] which names 88 events between March 2000 and March 2008.

Earthquake resistance[edit]

The Ministry for Ecology has declared the area around Cattenom to run a very low risk of earthquakes.