French state-controlled power group EDF said some weldings on its new Flamanville nuclear reactor did not meet required specifications but this did not affect safety or the schedule to load it with fuel at the end of 2018. An EDF spokeswoman said 38 of 66 weldings on the Flamanville EPR reactor’s secondary cooling circuit were not in line with standards aimed at making them rupture-proof. But they did meet requirements from French nuclear regulator ASN for nuclear equipment under pressure, she said. ASN chief Pierre-Franck Chevet who has repeatedly said the start-up schedule for the reactor was tight, told a parliament committee hearing on nuclear safety and security on Thursday that an inspection had revealed that the welding issue was more serious than initially thought. Chevet said the issue was still very much open and the agency was far from drawing conclusions because it was still at the start of its analysis of the issue. “That given, I cannot confirm EDF’s assertion that there would not be an impact on Flamanville’s schedule,” Chevet said. “The start-up of Flamanville is subject to my authorization and the safety calendar will be paramount,” he added. The EPR reactor, the type of unit EDF is also building at Britain’s Hinkley Point, is years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget. The Flamanville reactor is scheduled to be loaded with fuel by the end of December and will ramp up throughout 2019 with a target to be at full power by the fourth quarter of next year.
Reuters 22nd Feb 2018 read more »
[Machine Translation] Nuclear: welding problems identified on the Flamanville EPR. Some welds are of a lower quality than the criteria defined by EDF. The Nuclear Safety Authority considers the subject to be “serious”. Pierre Franck Chevet, said Thursday, in the Assembly , that the subject was “serious” and remained “entirely open”. “I am very far from having a conclusion. The objects were not manufactured to the level of requirement that was necessary for their safety function. We are at the beginning of an analysis process , “he told the members of the parliamentary inquiry commission on nuclear safety and security.
Le Monde 22nd Feb 2018 read more »