French nuclear regulator ASN said on Tuesday it will “probably” issue a final ruling in the autumn on whether the reactor that utility EDF is building in Flamanville is safe for use, in the latest delay in the process. The ASN said in 2015 it had discovered excessive carbon concentrations in the cover and bottom of the Flamanville reactor vessel, which can weaken the mechanical resilience of the steel and its ability to resist the spreading of cracks. Since then, Areva, which designed the EPR reactor, EDF and the ASN have been testing whether weak spots could jeopardise the safety of the reactor. The regulator’s green light about the reactor vessel is crucial for EDF and Areva, as European Union antitrust authorities have made it a precondition for their approval of EDF’s planned takeover of Areva’s reactor unit. The ASN has repeatedly postponed deadlines for ruling on the safety of reactor vessel.
Reuters 30th May 2017 read more »