In France, further postponement of the start-up of the Flamanville EPR reactor

EDF announced on Wednesday new delays and additional costs for the new generation EPR nuclear reactor under construction in Flamanville (Manche), the start of which is postponed until next year, in particular due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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“The fuel loading date is postponed from the end of 2022 to the second quarter of 2023. The estimate of the cost at completion goes from 12.4 billion euros to 12.7 billion”, indicates the group in a press release. Under construction since 2007, the EPR has accumulated disappointments, with a recent major problem with welds.

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The new schedule announced on Wednesday takes into account “the state of progress of operations and preparation for start-up in an industrial context made more difficult by the pandemic”, explains EDF.

New reactors

The announcement comes as France prepares to launch a new nuclear reactor construction program, as announced by President Emmanuel Macron on November 9.

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The Flamanville EPR is currently the only one built in France. Three EPR reactors have already started operating around the world: two in China, in Taishan, and one in Finland. In July, an incident led to the shutdown of one of these EPR reactors in Taishan. EDF explains Wednesday that it has suffered “a phenomenon of mechanical wear of certain assembly components” and that this “does not call into question the EPR model”.

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