Authorisation issued for Flamanville EPR commissioning

08 May 2024

France's nuclear regulator has authorised the commissioning of the Flamanville EPR reactor, which has a summer 2024 target for connection to the grid.

Flamanville (Image: Screengrab from EDF/Youtube)

The authorisation from the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) means EDF can now load nuclear fuel into the reactor and carry out start-up tests and then operation of the reactor. Within hours of the authorisation being announced EDF said it had begun to load nuclear fuel assemblies into the reactor vessel - adding that it would take several days to load the 241 fuel assemblies.

The ASN decision follows a public consultation which ran from 27 March until 17 April.

ASN issued technical requirements alongside the authorisation saying it would supervise the performance and monitoring of installation start-up tests after fuel loading and also specify methods for acting on feedback from other EPR-type reactors around the world. The first EPR units came online at Taishan in China, where unit 1 became the first EPR to enter commercial operation in 2018 followed by Taishan 2 in September 2019. In Europe, Olkiluoto 3 in Finland entered commercial operation in 2023 and two units are under construction at Hinkley Point C in the UK.

Construction work began in December 2007 on the 1650 MWe unit at the Flamanville site in Normandy - where two reactors have been operating since 1986 and 1987. The dome of the reactor building was put in place in July 2013 and the reactor vessel was installed in January 2014. The reactor was originally expected to start commercial operation in 2013. In December 2022 the total cost at completion of the project was estimated by EDF to be EUR13.2 billion (USD14.2 billion).

Researched and written by World Nuclear News