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France’s government demands that EDF fix Flamanville nuclear reactor within one month

EDF given a month to draw up a fix for Flamanville’s nuclear woes French energy group under pressure to address faults highlighted in a new report.  David Keohane in Paris, 28 Oct 19.

The French government has given energy group EDF a month to deliver a plan to fix the litany of problems at the state-backed group’s over-budget flagship nuclear project at Flamanville. The planned plant at Flamanville in north-west France is considered a litmus test for the next-generation European Pressurised Reactor technology, and will help determine whether the French government will build further nuclear plants.
EDF had warned earlier this month that the cost of the project had ballooned by €1.5bn to €12.4bn, in part due to faulty weldings. On Monday, a government-commissioned report into the failings at Flamanville lambasted EDF. It pointed to several issues besetting the wider French nuclear industry, including a lack of specific skills at EDF, poor project management and headaches the group has had in integrating the nuclear business of its failed competitor Areva.

 “This is a failure for the entire French nuclear power industry, we must recognise this failure and treat it and address all the consequences,” Bruno Le Maire, French finance minister, said at a press conference in Paris.

 Flamanville was “supposed to have cost €3bn and its construction was supposed to have lasted four and a half years; it will now cost four times as much, and its construction will last for 15 years,” Mr Le Maire added.

 A decision by French president Emmanuel Macron on whether to build new nuclear plants comes as the government aims to cut the percentage of nuclear electricity used in France from 72 per cent to 50 per cent. Even as the overall percentage generated by nuclear drops, new plans may need to be build as older ones are shut.
Construction at Flamanville has been delayed until the end of 2022, having previously been scheduled for the end of 2019. EDF, which is controlled by the government, is also gearing up for an internal reorganisation of its structure.
 For EDF, the quid pro quo for reorganising itself is the hope of a new higher price for its nuclear energy — assuming it can be agreed with Brussels.
 Flamanville is just one of three projects being built in Europe using the next-generation EPR technology. The other two are the Olkiluoto project in Finland, which is more than a decade late, and the UK’s Hinkley Point, which is also delayed and mired in controversy over its high costs.

October 29, 2019 - Posted by | business and costs, France, politics

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