22 Jan (NucNet): EDF is “actively pursuing” an action plan to rectify problems with weldings at the Flamanville-3 EPR nuclear unit under construction in northern France with hot testing of the plant, previously scheduled to start by the end of 2018, now scheduled to begin in the second half of February, the state-controlled company said in a statement.
Faulty weldings discovered last year forced EDF to delay the start-up date for the 1,600-MW Generation III plant to the second quarter of 2020 and announce an increase in the cost of the project to €10.5bn and then to €10.9bn. An estimate of the cost in July 2011 was €8bn.
EDF said yesterday that its construction cost target for the plant at the date of commissioning remained at €10.9bn.
In its statement yesterday the company did not give any date for commercial operation. In May 2018 it said commercial operation could be delayed by “several months” and in September 2018 executive director Xavier Ursat said in an interview with French nuclear society SFEN that commissioning was scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019.
EDF had earlier said the unit was scheduled for first fuel loading and startup in the fourth quarter of 2018.
In July 2018 EDF said 53 weldings on Flamanville’s secondary circuit would have to be redone, while for another 10 it was confident it could convince regulator ASN that they were fit for service. Another 85 needed no repairs, it said.
Hot testing involves checking the equipment under similar temperature and pressure conditions to those under which it will operate.
There are five EPR projects: Flamanville-3 in France, Olkiluoto-3 in Finland, Hinkley Point C in the UK – where two EPRs are being built – and Taishan-1 and -2 in Guangdong province, southern China. In December 2018 Taishan-1 became the first EPR to begin commercial operation.