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Britain’s nuclear regulator concerned for Hinkley project, as Flamanville nuclear project’s delays and safety problems continue

Times 26th July 2018 , Doubts about the Hinkley Point nuclear plant being built on time
intensified yesterday when its developer announced fresh delays to a prototype in France caused by defective welding. EDF, the French state-controlled energy company, is building Britain’s first new nuclear plant in a generation in Somerset and aims to start generating electricity from the £20 billion project in 2025.

The company is building the same
reactor type at Flamanville, Normandy, but has repeatedly had to put back
the start-up date, originally 2012, because of construction problems. EDF
said yesterday that first power generation at Flamanville would now slip by
a year to early 2020 because it needed to repair “quality deficiencies”
in the welding in part of the plant that carries steam to the turbines. The
cost of the plant has increased by a further €400 million to €10.9
billion, more than three times its original budget.

City analysts at RBC
Capital Markets said the announcement would “add to concerns about
whether EDF’s other projects . . . can be delivered on time and
budget”. Hinkley Point is due to generate 3.2 gigawatts of power, seven
per cent of Britain’s power needs, and is meant to help keep the lights
on when coal and older nuclear plants close. EDF insists it has learnt the
lessons from the EPRs being built elsewhere, ensuring that the British
project will proceed more smoothly.

However, Britain’s nuclear safety
regulator has raised concerns about substandard quality control checks on
EDF’s supply chain. A source insisted that Hinkley should not suffer the
same problems as Flamanville because the project uses a different
contractor and testing method, both of which had already been deployed
successfully in Finland. Kate Blagojevic, head of energy at Greenpeace UK,
said: “EDF’s nuclear design just doesn’t work very well. The nuclear
power plant in Finland is a decade late and because of yet more technical
problems, the Flamanville plant has gone from late to later. This bodes ill
for Hinkley Point C.” A spokesman for EDF said: “The construction of
Hinkley Point C remains on track. The project has already benefited, and
will continue to learn from the experience of other projects.


July 27, 2018 - Posted by | safety, UK

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