Background on the Hydroecology Committee

The Montereau Scientific Committee

In 1962, EDF initiated a dialogue with hydrobiologists concerned about the effects of river warming subsequent to the commissioning of increasingly powerful thermal power plants, and set up the Montereau Scientific Committee. This committee made a significant contribution to establishing scientific exchange among biologists, ecologists and the engineers in the Company who both design and build installations and operate plants.

From river warming to nuclear plant impacts

From its original exclusive focus on the impact of thermal releases in rivers, the committee rapidly moved beyond this context as the demand became more pressing with the startup of the French nuclear program in 1973. New issues then arose and were examined by the committee: construction of large plants on the seaboard, eutrophication of major rivers, chemical releases from thermal power plants, aquacultural uses of warm waters, global methods for assessing biological quality. In the Eighties, with questions arising as to the effects on the environment of hydropower installations which, until then, had been but little looked at in environmental terms, the scope of the committee further broadened to questions triggered by hydraulic installations.

The Hydroecology Committee

This evolution was natural in light of the development of an ecological perspective on the environment, which is to say the emergence of the concept of “system” applied to natural units. The change in name to Hydroecology Committee in 1987 was the logical conclusion of this evolution.