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Flamanville-3 Startup Scheduled For End Of 2018 Following ‘Comprehensive Review’

By David Dalton
3 September 2015

Flamanville-3 Startup Scheduled For End Of 2018 Following ‘Comprehensive Review’
The Flamanville-3 EPR in France.

3 Sep (NucNet): First fuel loading and startup of the delayed Flamanville-3 EPR reactor unit in northern France is now scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2018 following “a comprehensive review” of the project and project organisation, French utility EDF said today.

The company said primary circuit mechanical erection is to be finalised in the first quarter of 2016. Electromechanical erection is scheduled to be completed and system performance testing to begin in the first quarter of 2017.

EDF said following an assessment of “all the industrial and financial parameters” project costs have been revised to €10.5bn ($11.7bn). An estimate released in July 2011 was €8bn.

In recent months, EDF and its partners have conducted a comprehensive review of the Flamanville-3 project and of the project organisation, with a view to improving construction site management until commissioning has been completed, EDF said.

The company said “significant progress” has been made on the construction site recently with 98 percent of the civil construction works and 60 percent of the electromechanical erection completed. Pre-stressing operations on the reactor building inner containment have been carried out, and the control room has been commissioned.

In the first quarter of 2015, EDF submitted its commissioning application file to the French nuclear safety authority ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire).

The EDF board gave the go-ahead for construction in May 2006, saying it expected to complete the unit by 2012. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, construction began in December 2007. Flamanville-3 is the first Generation III reactor to be built in France

In November 2011, the company announced the unit would begin commercial operation in 2016, four years later than originally scheduled. That delay was linked to both structural and economic reasons, EDF said.

In November 2014 EDF confirmed additional delays because of difficulties encountered by reactor supplier Areva regarding delivery of equipment such as the lid and internal structures to the reactor pressure vessel, and meeting regulations on equipment under nuclear pressure, for which Flamanville-3 is a first-of-a-kind.

At the time, EDF said a project review would be held so it could “define accurately the consequences of the information. In 2011 EDF had already announced a four-year delay to the project’s original schedule.

Jean-Bernard Lévy, EDF chairman and managing director, said Flamanville-3 is a priority for EDF and of “critical importance” for the French nuclear industry and its success internationally. “All of the experience gained at Flamanville will be invaluable for other EPR projects, such as Hinkley Point [in the UK].”

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