Flamanville EPR timetable and costs revised

03 September 2015

French utility EDF has put back the start-up date of the EPR unit under construction at Flamanville by about one year while the cost of the project has now tripled from its original estimate.

Flamanville construction site - July 2015 - 460 (EDF)
The Flamanville EPR construction site, pictured in July (Image: EDF)

Some 98% of the building civil structure has already been completed on the unit as well as 60% of the electromechanical work, EDF said in a statement today. However, a new timetable has been drawn up by the company and its partners for the remaining work to complete and commission the 1630 MWe unit.

The new timetable sets out three key milestones, EDF said. Installation of the primary circuit is now scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2016, while system performance testing will begin a year later after all electromechanical work has been completed. The loading of fuel and start up of the reactor is now expected to take place in the last quarter of 2018. The unit had previously been scheduled to begin operating by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, EDF said the project costs have now been revised to €10.5 billion ($11.8 billion), up from a December 2012 estimate of €8 billion ($9 billion).

Construction work began on the unit, adjacent to two existing pressurized water reactors, at the Normandy site in northern France in 2007, when capital construction costs were estimated at €3.3 billion (2005 values) with commercial operation pencilled in for 2013. The cost and completion of the project has since been revised a number of times. The dome of the reactor building was put in place in mid-July 2013, while the reactor vessel was installed in January 2014. EDF submitted its commissioning application file for Flamanville 3 to the French nuclear regulator earlier this year.

A new organizational structure has been implemented at the project organization in order to improve construction site management until commissioning of the unit, EDF said. This new structure is centred on streamlined management reporting directly to EDF senior executive vice president in charge of new nuclear projects and engineering, Xavier Ursat, and to EDF chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy. New contractual frameworks have also been agreed with key suppliers, EDF said.

Lévy said, "I have reviewed the Flamanville EPR project in detail, and I am absolutely confident that it will be a success. It is a priority for EDF and of critical importance for the French nuclear industry and its success internationally. Our teams and those of our partners, particularly Areva, are working to complete this project together in compliance with the most stringent nuclear and industrial safety standards."

He added, "All of the experience gained at Flamanville will be invaluable for other EPR projects, such as Hinkley Point."

EPRs are also under construction at Olkiluoto 3 in Finland and Taishan 1 and 2 in China. Olkiluoto 3 has been under construction since 2005 and has seen several revisions to its start-up date, which is now expected by 2018. Taishan 1, which has been under construction since 2009, is expected to start up in 2016, while Taishan 2 is scheduled to begin operating a year later. Two further EPRs are planned at Hinkley Point in the UK.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News