Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant

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Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant
Flamanville-Diélette (Manche, Fr) vue sur la centrale nucléaire.jpg
Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant is located in France
Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant
Location of Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant
Official name Centrale Nucléaire de Flamanville
Country France
Location Flamanville, Manche
Coordinates 49°32′11″N 1°52′54″W / 49.53639°N 1.88167°W / 49.53639; -1.88167Coordinates: 49°32′11″N 1°52′54″W / 49.53639°N 1.88167°W / 49.53639; -1.88167
Status Operational
Construction began 1979
Commission date December 4, 1985 (December 4, 1985)
2019 (Flamanville 3 scheduled)
Operator(s) EDF
Nuclear power station
Reactor type PWR
EPR
Reactor supplier Framatome
Areva
Cooling source English Channel
Power generation
Units operational 2 x 1382 MW
Make and model Alstom
Units under const. 1 x 1650 MW
Nameplate capacity 2764 MW
Capacity factor 74.0%
Annual output 17,917 GW·h
Website
Areva site

The Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant is located at Flamanville, Manche, France on the Cotentin Peninsula. The power plant houses two pressurized water reactors (PWRs) that produce 1.3 GWe each and came into service in 1986 and 1987, respectively. It produced 18.9 TWh in 2005, which amounted to 4% of the electricity production in France. In 2006 this figure was about 3.3%.

In 2006, before the start of construction of the EPR (unit 3), there were 671 workers regularly working at the two operational reactors.

The EPR (Flamanville 3) aimed to be safer than any previous reactor, but as of July 2016, the project was three times over budget and years behind schedule. Various safety problems have been raised, including weakness in the steel used in the reactor.[1]

1978 picture showing the blasting that was done to demolish the cliffs and old, under-sea iron ore mines, before the reactors were built.

Unit 3

Construction on a new reactor, Flamanville 3, began on 4 December 2007.[2] The new unit is an Areva European Pressurized Reactor type and is planned to have a nameplate capacity of 1,650 MWe.

EDF has previously said France's first EPR would cost €3.3 billion[2] and start commercial operations in 2012, after construction lasting 54 months.[3]

On 3 December 2012 EDF announced that the estimated costs have escalated to €8.5 billion ($11 billion), and the completion of construction is delayed to 2016.[4] The next day the Italian power company Enel announced it was relinquishing its 12.5% stake in the project, and 5 future EPRs, so would be reimbursed its project stake of €613 million plus interest.[5][6]

In November 2014 EDF announced that completion of construction was delayed to 2017 due to delays in component delivery by Areva.[7]

In April 2015 Areva informed the French nuclear regulator, Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), that anomalies had been detected in the reactor vessel steel, causing "lower than expected mechanical toughness values". Further tests are underway.[8][9] Segolene Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy in the Second Valls Government, has asked the producer for further details and possible consequences.[10]

Various safety problems have been raised, including weakness in the steel used in the reactor[11] together with heterogeneity of the steel alloy forged high integrity components used in the reactor pressure vessel,[12] that have also been shown to be present in Japanese-sourced components that have entered the French nuclear equipment supply chain.[13][14] The safety of the Flamanville EPR plant has also been questioned due to the danger of flooding of the kind experienced during the 1999 Blayais Nuclear Power Plant flood.[15] In June 2015 multiple faults in cooling system safety valves were discovered by ASN.[16]

The EPR (Flamanville 3) aimed to be safer than any previous reactor, but as of 2016 the project is three times over budget and years behind schedule. In September 2015 EDF announced that the estimated costs had escalated to €10.5 billion, and the start-up of the reactor was delayed to the fourth quarter of 2018.[17]

The delays of Unit 3 of Flamanville received additional attention when in December 2016 The Economist reported that the British loan guarantees for Hinkley Point C require Unit 3 to be operational by 2020, that the regulator will rule on the future of Unit 3 mid-2017 and that one possible outcome of this ruling can delay its opening far beyond 2018, thus jeopardizing the British loan guarantees thereby preventing EDF from building the EPRs at Hinkley Point.[18] In February 2017 renewed delays in the construction of the EPR-reactors at Taishan Nuclear Power Plant prompted EDF to state that Flamanville 3 remains on schedule to start operations by the end of 2018, assuming it receives regulator approval.[19] In June 2017 the French regulator issued a provisional ruling that Flamanville 3 is safe to start.[20]

Incidents

On 9 February 2017 a mechanical problem with a fan in the turbine hall caused an explosion and fire, causing five people to be treated for smoke inhalation. While the non-nuclear accident did not cause any radioactive leak, it did cause the number one reactor to be disconnected from the power grid.[21][22] EDF initially estimated the reactor would be operational within a week, but later estimated the end of March.[23]

Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant at night
Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant at night

References

  1. ^ Jennifer Rankin. Flamanville: France's beleaguered forerunner to Hinkley Point C, The Guardian, 27 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Construction of Flamanville EPR begins". World Nuclear News. 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2011-03-19. 
  3. ^ "Flamanville 3 concrete poured". Nuclear Engineering International. 6 December 2007. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Le coût de l'EPR de Flamanville encore revu à la hausse". Le Monde. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Enel Drops Participation in Flamanville EPR as Project Costs Soar by $2.6B". POWER. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Enel and Edf Terminate their cooperation on EPR in France". Enel. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Michael Stothard (18 November 2014). "EDF in fresh delay for flagship nuclear plant". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Flamanville EPR vessel anomalies under scrutiny". World Nuclear News. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  9. ^ www.asn.fr: Anomalies de fabrication de la cuve de l’EPR de Flamanville. Communiqué de presse, 7 april 2015
  10. ^ 8. April 2015: Nucléaire: une nouvelle anomalie détectée sur l’EPR de Flamanville
  11. ^ Jennifer Rankin. Flamanville: France's beleaguered forerunner to Hinkley Point C, The Guardian, 27 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Review: Irregularities snd Anomalies Relating to the Forged Components of le Creusot Forge, 26 September 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "Review: Irregularities and Anomalies Relating to the Nuclear Reactor Primary Coolant Circuit Components Installed in Japanese Nuclear Power Plants - Part 1 French Carbon Anomaly Correlation to Japanese Nuclear Power Plants=24 October 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  14. ^ "Review: Irregularities and Anomalies Relating to the Nuclear Reactor Primary Coolant Circuit Components Installed in Japanese Nuclear Power Plants - Concluding Parts 2 & 3 - Potential Flawed Components Resident in Japanese Nuclear Power Plants=10 December 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2017. 
  15. ^ The great lesson France has to learn from Fukushima Deciphering Fukushima, published 2011-03-08, accessed 2012-05-08
  16. ^ Henry Samuel (9 June 2015). "Faulty valves in new-generation EPR nuclear reactor pose meltdown risk, inspectors warn". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 July 2015. 
  17. ^ https://www.edf.fr/en/edf/press_release/Flamanville-EPR-optimised-project-management-and-a-new-timetable
  18. ^ "France’s nuclear-energy champion is in turmoil". The Economist. 2016-12-03. Retrieved 2016-12-04. 
  19. ^ "EDF confirms Flamanville timetable after Taishan EPR delay". Times of India. 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2017-03-09. 
  20. ^ "French regulator says Flamanville 3 is safe to start". world-nuclear-news.org. 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2017-07-03. 
  21. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (9 February 2017). "French nuclear power plant explosion: 'Several injured' after blast in Flamanville". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  22. ^ "Incendie à la centrale nucléaire de Flamanville : ce que l’on sait" [Fire at the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant: What We Know]. ouest-france.fr (in French). 9 February 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  23. ^ Vaughan, Adam (21 February 2017). "EDF faces £1m a day bill to keep French nuclear reactor offline". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
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