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Design of AREVA’s EPR reactors not shown to be safe

Nuclear Reactors of Unproven Design Planned for California’s Central Valley Environment News Service FRESNO, California, January 6, 2010 (ENS) – At least one nuclear reactor is being planned for California’s agricultural Central Valley but it is already running into grassroots opposition and technical problems.

Areva, a French nuclear engineering company, and the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group announced December 29, 2009 that they have signed a Letter of Intent to formalize cooperation in the development of one or two EPR™ nuclear reactors.The Fresno Nuclear Energy Group is a group of investors that wishes to acquire the EPR™ generation 3+ technology “to provide an environmentally responsible source of electricity to further develop the agricultural industry within Central Valley,” Areva said in its announcement of the arrangement.To date, no EPR reactors are operating anywhere in the world, although several are in the construction or planning stages…………..

EPR™, a trademark of the Areva Group, stands for European Pressurized Reactor, or alternatively, Evolutionary Power Reactor. The third generation pressurized water reactor was designed and developed by Areva, Electricite de France in France, and Siemens AG in Germany.
In 2009, two EPR units were under construction, one each in Finland and France, and both are facing costly construction delays. Nuclear regulators in both countries have expressed doubts about their safety…………
Areva is proposing to build an EPR in the UK, but Britain’s main security regulator, the Nuclear Directorate of the Health and Safety Executive, said in a November 2009 report that it could not immediately recommend plans for the new reactor because of wide-ranging concerns about its safety, but said the assessment will not be completed until 2011…………….

Twenty-two environmental groups in regions affected by the proposed EPR reactors are urging Energy Secretary Steven Chu to suspend the loan guarantee process for EPR reactor designs.

In a letter dated December 22, the groups cited an unprecedented November 2, 2009 joint statement from nuclear regulators in France, Finland and the UK that identifies “a significant and fundamental nuclear safety problem with the EPR’s instrumentation and control system.” The problem has not yet been corrected and may lead to the design being unable to meet licensing requirements of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The groups pointed to the soaring cost estimates for construction of EPR reactors, noting that PPL has posted an estimate of $13-15 billion for a single reactor at Bell Bend, Pennsylvania, which works out to about $8,000-$9,000 per kilowatt, at least twice the cost of potential competing technologies. extraordinary risks to taxpayers if loan guarantees are granted,” the groups say in their letter, adding, “The Congressional Budget Office has predicted that about half of new reactor projects using loan guarantees will fail.”

The groups note that Areva’ first EPR, being built in Finland, is three-and-a-half years behind schedule and 75 percent over budget. Some 3,000 construction deficiencies have been identified at the Finnish site.

Given all of these factors, the groups wrote to Secretary Chu, “It would, at best, be grossly premature to provide a ‘conditional’ loan guarantee to any project that currently presents extraordinary risks to taxpayers, that currently suffers from serious and identified safety deficiencies, that uses a design that may not be certified, and that may not be eligible to receive a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

Nuclear Reactors of Unproven Design Planned for California’s Central Valley

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January 7, 2010 - Posted by | France, safety | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] is that the Finnish plant is 75% over budget, years behind schedule and is plagued with the same construction and design flaws as the ones […]

    Pingback by NHK Touts Areva’s EPR, Reality Is Not So Kind | SimplyInfo | November 9, 2011 | Reply


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