EDF said in a statement that its latest estimate for construction costs at Flamanville was now €12.4bn.
Fuel loading at the plant will not be able to begin before the end of 2022 because of repairs to 66 welds, EDF said. Work on “upgrading” 58 of the welds has already begun.
Work on the remaining eight welds might not begin until the end of 2020 because regulator ASN must approve EDF’s repair plans. Those plans include using remote-operated robots designed to carry out high-precision operations inside pipes.
EDF also has a fallback option, which would entail extracting the piping to repair the welds, but that would “probably lead to an extra delay of one year and an extra cost of €400m,” EDF’s head of nuclear new-build, Xavier Ursat, said.
The company said that on 8 October its board of directors had “approved the continuation of the Flamanville EPR project”.
The faulty welds, discovered in 2018, forced EDF to delay the start-up date for the plant and to announce an increase of the project cost to €10.5bn and then to €10.9bn. An estimate of the cost in July 2011 was €8bn.
When construction of Flamanville-3 started in 2007, the original target launch date was 2012, which means the overall delay is now more than a decade.