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EDF increases cost estimate for Flamanville reactor after factoring in repairs for quality deficiencies

25 July 2018

France’s state electricity generator Electricite De France (EDF) has put the cost of repairing recently discovered flaws at the new EPR reactor being built at Flamanville in Normandy at 400 million euros ($468 million). This takes the total cost of the project to 10.9 billion euros, more than three times its original budget.

Flamanville 3 reactor - Image: EDF
Flamanville 3 reactor - Image: EDF

EDF had previously warned that problems with weldings at the reactor under construction in Flamanville were worse than first expected. The utility said on July 25 that out of the 148 inspected welds at the latest generation reactor, 33 had quality deficiencies and would need to be repaired.

The most recent projections envisaged the Flamanville 3 reactor loading nuclear fuel at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018, but EDF said this was now scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019. The reactor was originally scheduled to come on stream in 2012.

Flamanville was the second EPR reactor to be constructed after Olkiluoto in Finland, which has suffered comparable delays and cost overruns, and which is also due to enter service in 2019.

This means that the first EPR to enter production will probably be at the Taishan nuclear plant in China. Work on Taishan 1 and 2 reactors have also suffered repeated delays, but not on the scale of the French and Finnish plants. At least one of the Chinese reactors is expected to be commissioned this year. 

The UK plans to build two EPRs at Hinkley Point in Somerset and these could be further delayed if the new problems at Flamanville prove serious. The UK EPRs are already mired in controversy over the high cost of the project.


 


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