Piping weld issues reported at Électricité de France’s Flamanville nuclear reactor project last week threaten to delay similar reactor builds across Finland and the UK, eroding confidence in the technology’s future role in western Europe’s energy mix. State-owned EDF admitted on 10 April that inspectors had found “quality deviations” on 150 welds in a system used to transport steam to turbines at the Flamanville European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), a third generation pressurised water reactor in northwestern France. Those inspections were prompted by an initial finding in February that 38 of 66 weldings on a secondary cooling circuit were not in line with standards, which were passed on at the time to France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). Because the ASN has already demanded that a study be completed into the initial problems by the second half of 2018, it’s likely the new discovery will exacerbate problems with the long-delayed plant’s timetable and costs—it is seven years behind schedule and €7bn ($8.6bn) over budget.
Petroleum Economist 16th April 2018 read more »
French state-controlled utility EDF will have to inspect more weldings at the Flamanville-3 nuclear plant under construction in northern France after flaws were discovered in the weldings of the reactor’s secondary circuit, nuclear regulator ASN said. ASN said it had carried out an inspection at the Flamanville-3 site on 10 April and found that “the organisation and the working conditions during the end-of-production controls have generally hindered the quality of the controls”. It said controls would now have to be extended to other circuits in the plant. According to ASN, inadequate monitoring of these services by EDF and reactor builder Framatome did not make it possible to identify and remedy problems. “Some defects are still under investigation in order to understand the causes of their non-detection during the end of manufacturing controls,” ASN said. EDF said on 10 April that problems with Flamanville’s weldings were worse than first expected and may impact the cost and startup of the project.
Nucnet 12th April 2018 read more »
France will launch a 300MW solar power tender for the Haut-Rhin region to counterbalance this year’s expected closure of the 1.6GW Fessenheim nuclear plant, the country’s Environment Minister has announced.
Infrastructure Journal 16th April 2018 read more »