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World Flamanville's EPR shows a new delay

15:05  12 january  2022
15:05  12 january  2022 Source:   lemonde.fr

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prior to any operating test, the loading date of the fuel in the vessel of the future reactor is "end-of-end 2022 in the second quarter 2023," announced EDF.

The Electricity Group of France (EDF) must again "adjust the calendar". To say without euphemism, the third-generation EPR nuclear reactor construction site in Flamanville (Manche) will experience a new delay and new costs. Prerequisites for any operating test, the loading date of the fuel in the vessel of the future reactor is "Start-off 2022 in the second quarter 2023", announced the group in a statement, Wednesday, January 12 in the morning.

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"in an industrial context made more difficult by the pandemic" of COVID-19, this bad news further increases the cost of construction, which passes from 12 , 4 billion to 12.7 billion euros, announces the company. In July 2020, the Court of Auditors considered that the total cost of the site would amount to more than 19 billion euros, taking into account other expenditure interclassify before any industrial commissioning, including those related to the rooms. replacement or administrative or tax procedures. The councilors of the Court of Auditors already evoked an "operational failure, cost drifts and considerable delays".

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site started in 2007

The announcement of a new delay still complicates the situation of EDF, whose state is always the majority shareholder. Heavily indebtedness, the group started the EPR site (for European pressurized reactor - "European pressurized reactor", in French) in 2007, and originally targeted a commissioning ... for 2012, with estimates of construction costs well lower (about 3 billion euros).

In 2019, at the request of the Minister of the Economy, Bruno the Mayor, the President and CEO of EDF, Jean-Bernard Lévy, had ordered a report on the accumulated setbacks for several years. This Folz Report (named after the old CEO of the PSA Automotive Group) had awarded the years of delay in part to "a widespread loss of skills". In fact, the Flamanville site was preceded by a long period of new reactors.

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On the other hand, the first two EPRs to be entered into operation in the world, in 2018 and 2019, are found in China, in Taishan. An incident led to the judgment in July 2021 from one of them. In issue, "a mechanical wear phenomenon of certain assembly components", according to EDF, which ensures that this file "does not call into question the EPR model".

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The 56 reactors of the current French nuclear park, the main source of electricity in the country, belong to the second-generation pressurized water reactors category. The Flamanville power station consists of two, commissioned in the mid-1980s. The most recent being those of Civalers (Vienna), which began to operate in the late 1990s.

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On November 9, 2021, despite the problems observed on the Flamanville-3 site, Emmanuel Macron announced its intention to "revive the construction of nuclear reactors in our country". A guarantee of "France's energy independence", according to the President of the Republic.

While nuclear power is one of the polarizing themes of the presidential campaign, Greenpeace has denounced an "umpteent delay that disqualifies ads of new reactors". The non-governmental organization requires "a moratorium on the work of the Flamanville EPR, in order to conduct an assessment independently of the viability of EPR nuclear reactors."

"The government will be vigilant to what EDF pulls lessons from the various delays that this site known to improve its industrial process," responded to the France-Presse agency (AFP) the Ministry of the Ecological transition on Wednesday.

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