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Nuclear concern over HFC availability

FRANCE: EDF is concerned about the short-term availability and costs of HFCs vital to maintaining its nuclear facilities if the proposed accelerated phase-down under the F-gas regulations become law.

The French multinational electric utility company also voices its concern that the proposed phase-down trajectory combined with product bans in 2025 and 2027 will be “highly problematic” for heat pumps.

EDF uses R134a in around 800 process cooling units in the company’s nuclear power plants. The units are used to maintain the “nuclear island” at a suitable temperature and prevent materials’ ageing. 

In its response to the current feedback to the European Commission’s F-gas revision proposals, EDF explains that following the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, R134a was chosen on the basis of technical and safety parameters, such as flammability, toxicity to workforce and corrosiveness. 

It is now concerned that the “highly ambitious” phase-down objectives and reduced production rights will impact the refrigerant’s availability and costs in the short-term. 

Echoing the sentiments of other groups who have responded to the proposals, EDF also warns that the proposed bans and maximum GWP restrictions on split air conditioning and heat pump equipment from 2025 “might lead to heat pumps shortages since the whole value chain would have to reorganise at a very fast pace”. 

“This can be a major issue considering the ambition set out in the Renovation Wave and RepowerEU in terms of heat pumps deployment, which acknowledges their key contribution to the decarbonisation of the building sector,” EDF says. 

“Indeed, the lack of HFC stocks and alternative solutions might disrupt the market in the short-term, and the associated high level of investments would surely be reflected in sales price,” it adds.

Related stories:

F-gas proposals “unrealistic”26 June 2022
EUROPE: EPEE claims that the proposed revisions to the European F-gas regulation will seriously impact the necessary accelerated heat pump roll out and jeopardise the EU’s REPowerEU objectives. Read more…

Industry calls for rethink on F-gas proposals – 5 April 2022
BELGIUM: Industry groups have been quick to voice concerns that the EC’s F-gas revision proposal contains “worrying” equipment prohibitions and an “unsustainable” phase-down that risk undermining its own environmental goals. Read more…

EC proposes steep HFC cuts and usage bans – 5 April 2022
EUROPE: The European air conditioning and refrigeration industry could face stringent cuts in HFC refrigerants and bans on common AC refrigerants in new EC proposals to strengthen the F-gas regulation. Read more…

F-gas quota cuts will hit heat pump ambitions – 15 March 2022
BELGIUM: The leading European associations have called on the European Commission to rethink its accelerated HFC phase down proposals or risk jeopardising the switch to heat pumps. Read more…

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