EDF confirms Flamanville EPR start-up schedule
EDF said fuel will be loaded into the 1630 MWe unit and start-up operations would begin at the end of 2018. Production tests and grid connection of the unit is scheduled for 25 May, 2019. Flamanville 3 is expected to reach full generating capacity in November 2019, it said.
In September 2015, EDF released a revised schedule for the startup milestones of the Flamanville EPR. The unit had previously been scheduled to begin operating by the end of 2017. Under that schedule, EDF said loading of fuel and start-up of the reactor would take place in the fourth quarter of 2018, with grid connection and full power expected in the second and fourth quarters of 2019, respectively.
Construction work began on the unit, adjacent to two existing pressurised 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. In September 2015, EDF said the project costs had been revised to €10.5 billion, up from a December 2012 estimate of €8 billion.
The dome of the reactor building was put in place in 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 in early 2015.
System performance tests at the Flamanville EPR began on 15 March this year. The first phase of the tests involves flushing the primary circuit with water at a very high flow rate, after which cold testing will be carried out.
Areva NP revealed in April 2015 its discovery of an anomaly in the composition of the steel in certain zones of the reactor pressure vessel's (RPV's) closure head and bottom head of the Flamanville EPR. The engineering group initiated a test program to demonstrate the mechanical strength of the steel is sufficient in all operating situations, including accident situations. Its conclusions were sent to the French nuclear regulator last December. In late June, the regulator provisionally ruled the unit can start up safely, but said the head of its RPV will need to be replaced by the end of 2024. EDF said it aims to prove that regular maintenance would avoid the need to change the closure head at that time.
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 the end 2018. Taishan 1 in China, which has been under construction since 2009, is expected to start up in the second half of 2017, while Taishan 2 is scheduled to begin operating in the first half of 2018. Two further EPRs are planned at Hinkley Point in the UK.