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Flamanville Weldings May Need More Repairs Than Originally Thought, Says Regulator

By David Dalton
3 October 2018

Flamanville Weldings May Need More Repairs Than Originally Thought, Says Regulator
The Flamanville-3 EPR nuclear unit under construction in France. Courtesy EDF Médiathèque/Alexis Morin/Antoine Soubigou

3 Oct (NucNet): Faulty weldings at the Flamanville-3 EPR being built by state-controlled utility EDF in Normandy, northern France, may need more repairs than originally estimated and EDF will have to carry out a quality audit of materials it is using for the plant, nuclear regulator ASN said in a statement today.

In July, problems with the weldings forced EDF to delay the start-up date for the plant to the second quarter of 2020 and announce an increase in the cost of the project to €10.5bn. An estimate of the cost in July 2011 was €8bn.

EDF said in July that 53 weldings on Flamanville’s secondary circuit would have to be redone, while for another 10 it was confident it could convince ASN that they were fit for service. Another 85 needed no repairs, it said.

ASN said today that a programme of major tests would be necessary to verify whether eight weldings were indeed fit for service, as EDF has argued.

“To the extent that it is not certain that this will be the case, ASN invites EDF to start preparing for possible repair work on the weldings,” the regulator said. ASN said it would start an investigation of EDF’s proposals for the possible repair work.

“ASN considers that the problems with the weldings show that EDF has failed to properly oversee certain activities on the Flamanville reactor construction site,” the regulator said.

ASN added that it was asking EDF to broaden the quality audit of materials used on the reactor.

It also said, given that the first problems had been identified in July 2015, the management of the situation by EDF had been inadequate.

“Therefore, ASN demands that EDF proceed to a thorough analysis of the dysfunctions at EDF and its suppliers,” it said.

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