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Travails of Flamanville nuclear reactor project cast doubt on the future of UK’s Hinkley Point project

Hinkley Point builder feels heat for French reactor failings. EDF has been
rebuked by French safety regulators for failings in the construction of a
prototype reactor in Normandy. Flamanville has been beset by problems and
delays that critics say cast doubt on EDF’s ability to deliver power from
the British plant by 2025, as promised.

The Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire, the French nuclear regulator, said yesterday that EDF may need
to carry out more repairs than had been estimated initially on faulty
weldings at the French reactor and ordered it to carry out a wider review
of the quality of materials in the project. The watchdog said that it
believed the company had “failed to properly oversee certain activities” at
Flamanville and had failed in its handling of the welding problems when
they were discovered, taking a year and a half to inform the regulator.

Times 4th Oct 2018 , Flamanville originally was due to start up in 2012, but it has been delayed
repeatedly. This summer, EDF said that the start date had slipped again to
early 2020 as it needed to repair “quality deficiencies” in the welding in
part of the plant that carries steam to the turbines.

The costs of the project are estimated at €10.9 billion, more than three times its
original budget. The company has blamed the welding issues on a contractor
that had signed off on the work despite the failings. It said in July that
it needed to redo 53 weldings at Flamanville, but was confident that a
further ten were fit for service.

However, the watchdog said it was not certain that this was the case and that EDF should “start preparing for
possible repair work on the weldings”. It said that the company had
informed it only early last year, despite identifying the issue in July

This year the British nuclear regulator raised concerns about poor
quality control checks on EDF’s supply chain for Hinkley Point C and said
that improvements had to be made. Kate Blagojevic, head of energy and
climate at Greenpeace, said: “The French nuclear regulator has given a
pretty damning verdict on EDF’s attempt to build the new nuclear power
station at Flamanville . . . Nothing in the latest statement from the
French nuclear regulator could possibly inspire confidence that Hinkley
will be built on time or budget.”


October 5, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, UK

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