French utility EDF will reveal “in the next few days” whether sub-standard welding identified at France’s first European pressurised reactor (EPR) in Flamanville will lead to further start-up delays, a spokeswoman said on Thursday. However, she refused to comment on Montel’s interview with a senior official of the ASN watchdog’s technical arm – the IRSN – who said the commissioning of the unit faced further delays “of at least several months”.
Montel 31st May 2018 read more »
French nuclear regulator fears “epidemic” safety-culture collapse at Flamanville: disaster looms for EDF. Almost 150 more weld failures (beyond those discovered earlier, as reviewed in the article) mean the nuclear plant scheduled online in 2012 at a cost of €3.5bn is now delayed to 2020, probably, at a cost of €10.5bn, and counting. Thierry Charles, deputy director general, Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the technical arm of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN): “The expected high level of quality was not specified (Editor’s note: by EDF), the conformity of supplies to the specification could not be attested”, plus “the qualification of the welding procedures […] ] does not respect all the rules of art. Charles cites concerns over “other categories of mechanical equipment” than the pipes of the secondary circuit. He flags “human and organizational failures” and “lack of rigor of suppliers”. he ascribes all this to the “inadequacies of the monitoring system put in place by EDF” to check the conformity of the work of its subcontractors and he fears “dysfunction potentially damaging to safety”. He has invited the ASN to summon EDF to thoroughly review its organization “to improve the quality of realization of welds and make its monitoring system more effective”. In a final, potentially lethal, blow to EDF he argues that “additional controls will be requested on other circuits of the reactor to verify that there is no epidemic.”
Jeremy Leggett 31st May 2018 read more »
Commercial operation of the Flamanville-3 EPR unit under construction in northern France could be further delayed because of the need for safety checks after flaws were discovered in the weldings of the reactor’s secondary circuit, reports in French media have said. The unconfirmed reports quoted Thierry Charles, deputy director-general in charge of nuclear safety at the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), as saying operation of Flamanville-3 could be delayed by “at least several months”. State-controlled utility and nuclear operator EDF said on 10 April that problems with Flamanville’s weldings were worse than first expected and might impact the reactor’s cost and schedule. The company said at the time that it would comment on the startup schedule at the end of May after it had verified all 150 weldings in the secondary circuit, which conducts steam from the steam generator to the plant’s turbines. EDF has not made any statement in response to today’s reports. In February EDF said some weldings on Flamanville-3’s secondary cooling circuit did not meet specifications, but said the issue would not affect safety or the schedule to start up the plant at the end of 2018. EDF said last month the discovery was made during an initial comprehensive inspection of the plant. The inspection was a regulatory requirement before startup. It included the examination of the welds of the primary and secondary systems. The loading of nuclear fuel at Flamanville-3 was scheduled for the end of the 2018. Construction costs for the project are €10.5bn, EDF said. An estimate of the cost in July 2011 was €8bn.
Nucnet 31st May 2018 read more »
[Machine Translation] The Flamanville EPR is likely to see its start postponed to 2020. The weld quality problem detected on the EPR reactor could differ by almost a year from its commissioning. The nuclear policeman should demand that the work be redone. A blow for EDF. A month and a half after the discovery of new quality defects on 150 welds of the main secondary circuit of the EPR reactor of the Flamanville power station, in the Channel , EDF is preparing to post a further delay of several months in the commissioning of what was to be the new flagship of the atom made in France. The EPR was due to start no later than early 2019. But according to a source very familiar with the file questioned by Libération, the start of the EPR Flamanville could outright “suffer a year late and be postponed to the end of 2019 or early 2020” ! Severely taxed by the gendarme of the atom, EDF would indeed be forced to resume one by one “Almost all 150 welds” whose quality is not up to what was expected by the nuclear policeman for this type of equipment under nuclear pressure.
Liberation 31st May 2018 read more »