The Gravelines Nuclear Power Station is the sixth largest nuclear power station in the world, the second largest in Europe (after the nuclear power station of Zaporizhia, Ukraine) and the largest in Western Europe. It is located in Nord, France, approximately 20 km (12 mi) from Dunkerque and Calais. Its cooling water comes from the North Sea. The plant houses 6 nuclear reactors with a unitary power of 900 MW. In 2006 the plant produced 38.14 TWh, 8,1% of the whole amount of electricity produced in France. Two reactors entered service in 1980, two in 1981, and two in 1985.
The site employs 1680 regular employees. As of the 2nd of August 2010, it became the first nuclear station anywhere in the world to produce over one thousand terawatt-hour of electricity.
The design for Gravelines units 5 and 6 was the basis for the Chinese CPR-1000 design. The reactors of units 5 and 6 were initially intended for export to Iran, but the order was cancelled after the Iranian revolution in 1979. After the cancellation, the reactors were deployed at the Gravelines site.
In August 2009, during the yearly exchanging of fuel bundles in Reactor-1, one bundle got stuck to the upper handling structure, stopping the operations and causing the evacuation and isolation of the reactor's building.
In 2007, the plant experienced four separate events that qualified as Level-1 on the INES Scale, the lowest level on the 7-point scale.
In 2006 when Unit-3 was taken offline for routine refueling. It was discovered that an electrical wire had not been plugged in correctly during the last outage in 2005. This too ranked Level-1 on the INES Scale.