French utility EDF’s schedule to start up its new EPR nuclear reactor in Flamanville, northern France, by the end of 2018 is tight, a top nuclear regulator said on Wednesday. In a provisional ruling in June, French regulator ASN said Flamanville was fit for service and could start despite some weak spots in its reactor cover, but EDF will have to replace the cover by 2024 unless it can devise new tests that prove the reliability of its steel. Thierry Charles, deputy director and head of nuclear safety at IRSN, the ASN’s technical arm, said starting a new reactor is always a challenge and one should expect some difficulties. “Given EDF’s planning and the things that still have to be done, the schedule is tight,” Charles told reporters. EDF said in July that it expected the first fuel loading and start-up of the reactor for end-2018, followed by production tests and grid connection on May 25, 2019. In November 2019, production will be ramped up to 100 percent of the reactor’s 1,600-megawatt capacity. Flamanville is years behind schedule and its budget has more than tripled to 10.5 billion euros ($12.5 billion).
Reuters 6th Sept 2017 read more »