The company building Britain’s first nuclear power station for 21 years has been ordered to shut down five more reactors in France for emergency tests. The order from the French Nuclear Safety Agency is a further blow to the finances and reputation of EDF, the state-owned company behind plans to build an £18 billion nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. It brings to 12 the total number of French reactors being examined by experts to determine whether they contain hidden weaknesses in their reactor pressure vessels, a key component that houses the reactor. Theresa May approved plans for Hinkley Point, which will generate 7 per cent of Britain’s electricity, last month, despite intense criticism of the high price tag and concerns about EDF’s reactor technology. The safety agency’s order for EDF to shut reactors at Civaux, Fessenheim, Gravelines and Tricastin for tests has also sparked concerns that the group, the world’s biggest nuclear generator, may struggle to meet French demand for electricity this winter. Nuclear power provides nearly 80 per cent of the country’s electricity. French power prices hit a four-year high yesterday amid fears of a supply crunch. Experts also warned of a possible impact on the UK, which imports French electricity during periods of high demand in January and February.
Times 20th Oct 2016 read more »
The French nuclear safety authority has requested five of EDF’s nuclear power units are taken offline for additional inspections on their steam generators within the next three months. The steel in parts of those components has been found to contain high concentrations of carbon. The upper and bottom heads of the reactor pressure vessel for the EPR under construction at Flamanville 3 were manufactured at Areva’s Le Creusot facility in September 2006 and January 2007, respectively. A high carbon content in those parts prompted Areva to review the company’s quality management process in 2015 for some 400 heavy steel components made at the Creusot Forge plant since 1965.
World Nuclear News 19th Oct 2016 read more »
A string of unscheduled nuclear reactor closures at French nuclear power utility EDF show France needs spare generating capacity instead of phasing out nuclear plants, opposition energy expert Herve Mariton said on Wednesday. Mariton, an ally of leading opposition presidential candidate Alain Juppe and a prominent energy specialist in the conservative Les Republicains party, also said he saw no reason to reduce the share of nuclear in France’s electricity mix. French nuclear watchdog ASN on Tuesday ordered EDF to close five more nuclear reactors before year-end to check the resilience of the steel in their steam generators. EDF now has 20 of its 58 nuclear reactors halted for maintenance or inspection, forcing the country to import the equivalent of the production of about four nuclear plants from neighbouring countries. Mariton rejected the Socialist government’s plan to close EDF’s ageing Fessenheim nuclear plant when its new reactor opens in Flamanville in 2018, as the country needs reserve capacity.
Reuters 19th Oct 2016 read more »
The French day-ahead power contract price on Wednesday jumped to its highest in four years on concerns that nuclear power supply from utility EDF will lag rising demand as the weather gets colder in coming weeks. Persistent doubts over EDF’s ability to meet French and wider European electricity demand for winter has roiled markets, pushing spot and forward power prices to new highs.
Daily Mail 19th Oct 2016 read more »
France’s Nuclear Safety Authority has ordered the country’s EDF utility to conduct checkups at five nuclear reactors ahead of their scheduled maintenance tests, citing potential weakness in critical parts manufactured by a Japanese company, French media reported Tuesday.
Japan Times 19th Oct 2016 read more »