Another delay, cost bump, for Flamanville-3

January 13, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
The Flamanville nuclear power plant in France.

France’s Flamanville-3 project, plagued by schedule setbacks and cost overruns for well over a decade (construction of the unit commenced in December 2007), will be delayed a bit longer and cost a bit more.

Électricité de France announced yesterday that fuel loading at the 1,600-MWe EPR has been pushed back from the end of this year to the second quarter of 2023. The delay increases the project’s cost at completion from €12.4 billion (about $14.2 billion) to €12.7 billion (about $14.5 billion), more than four times the initial estimate of €3.3 billion, according to EDF.

ANS Winter Meeting: CEM, COP, and the path to net zero

December 9, 2021, 12:02PMNuclear News
A screen capture from the meeting that discussed the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050: (From left) Leah Parks, Giulia Bisconti, Nicholas McMurray, Josh Freed, and Laura Hermann. Panelists who joined the meeting virtually were Sama Bilbao y León and Edie Greaves.

The Thursday morning executive session at last week’s 2021 ANS Winter Meeting and Technology Expo brought together a group of influential nuclear-policy experts from the United States and abroad to discuss the roles nuclear can play in smoothing the pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050. Specific topics explored included the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and its Nuclear Innovation Clean Energy (NICE) Future initiative, as well as last month’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The session was moderated by Leah Parks, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission risk analyst and 2020 ANS Presidential Citation awardee.

Study: New U.K. nuclear likely to be lower carbon source than solar or wind

November 30, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe

A recent study of life cycle carbon emissions at the United Kingdom’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant finds that the facility, now under construction in Somerset, England, is likely to produce less CO2 over its lifetime than either solar or wind power.

According to the 70-page analysis—prepared by environmental consultancy Ricardo Energy & Environment for NNB Generation Company HPC Limited, the holding company for the Hinkley Point project—lifetime emissions from Hinkley Point C are likely to be about 5.5g CO2e per kWh. That amount also holds for the proposed Sizewell C plant, the study concludes. (The two 1,630-MWe EPRs at Hinkley Point C are currently scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2026 and 2027.)

French president calls for new nuclear construction

November 11, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News


In a televised address Tuesday evening, French president Emmanuel Macron announced his government’s intention to build new large nuclear reactors in France to address growing energy and environmental challenges.

“If we want to pay for our energy at reasonable rates and not depend on foreign countries, we must both continue to save energy and invest in the production of carbon-free energy on our soil,” said Macron. “This is why, to guarantee France’s energy independence, to guarantee our country’s electricity supply, and to reach our goals—notably carbon neutrality in 2050—we will for the first time in decades revive the construction of nuclear reactors in our country and continue to develop renewable energy. These investments will allow us to live up to our commitments. As we close COP26 in Glasgow, this is a strong message from France.”

France submits EPR offer to Poland

October 15, 2021, 12:06PMNuclear News

A cutaway view of an EPR. (Image: EDF)

French utility giant Électricité de France has thrown its chapeau into the ring to be the large-reactor supplier for Poland’s embryonic nuclear power program, joining U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company, which has made concerted efforts this year to convince Poland to choose its AP1000 technology.

On Tuesday, EDF submitted a nonbinding preliminary offer to the Polish government for the construction of four to six EPR reactors, representing a total installed capacity of 6.6 to 9.9 GWe across two to three sites.

The pitch: The offer “covers all key parameters of the program, such as plant configuration, industrial scheme, plans for the development of the local supply chain, cost estimate, and schedule,” EDF said in a press release, adding that its proposal “aims at setting the principles for a Polish-French strategic partnership framework in support of Poland’s ambitious energy transition plan, aligned with the European carbon neutrality target.”

EDF: Taishan’s “evolving” fuel failure would merit a shutdown and assessment in France

July 23, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Taishan nuclear power plant. (Photo: EDF Energy)

If Taishan-1 were operating in France, Électricité de France would shut down the reactor in order to assess the situation in progress and stop its development, according to a July 22 press release from EDF. The 1,660-MWe French-designed EPR—the recent subject of sensational press coverage of fuel rod failures—operates in China’s Guangdong Province.

Taishan spent three days in the spotlight: What can we learn?

July 16, 2021, 7:02AMNuclear NewsSusan Gallier
Taishan’s Unit 1 was the world’s first EPR to be connected to the grid. (Photo: CGN)

The facts, once known, were uncomplicated. At Taishan-1 in China—the first Framatome EPR to be commissioned—operators detected an increase of fission product gases within the primary coolant circuit sometime after the reactor’s first refueling outage in October 2020. The cladding on a handful of the more than 60,000 fuel rods in the reactor had been breached, posing an operational issue—but not a public safety issue—for the plant.

Finnish nuclear plant and spent fuel repository become YouTube stars

June 9, 2021, 3:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe
A screen capture from the video "Finland Might Have Solved Nuclear Power’s Biggest Problem" on YouTube.

A new video, Finland Might Have Solved Nuclear Power’s Biggest Problem, debuted on YouTube this morning and has been seen already by a large number of viewers. The video takes a look at Finland’s efforts to lessen its reliance on foreign energy and meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2035 with nuclear power, as well as to provide a solution to the problem of spent nuclear fuel.

Delay, cost increase announced for U.K. nuclear project

January 27, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

Perspex screens and reduced seating capacity in the Hinkley Point canteens help protect the workforce during breaks, EDF Energy said. Photo: EDF Energy

The unfortunate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on nuclear new-build projects haven’t stopped with Vogtle: EDF Energy this morning reported that the expected startup date for Unit 1 at its Hinkley Point C site is being pushed from late 2025 to June 2026.

In addition, the project’s completion costs are now estimated to be in the range of £22 billion to £23 billion (about $30.2 billion to $31.5 billion), some £500 million (about $686 million) more than the 2019 estimate, EDF said, adding the caveat that these revisions assume an ability to begin a return to normal site conditions by the second quarter of 2021.

Hinkley Point B to be retired earlier than planned

November 30, 2020, 9:30AMNuclear News

Hinkley Point B, in Somerset, England. Photo: EDF Energy

EDF Energy has made a “proactive decision” to move Britain’s Hinkley Point B power station into its defueling phase no later than July 15, 2022—some eight months earlier than previously scheduled—the company announced on November 19.

The two-unit plant, located in Somerset, England, began generating electricity in 1976 and has since produced more than 300 TWh of power, enough to meet the electricity requirements of every home in the United Kingdom for three years, according to EDF.

BBC: U.K. government may be close to greenlighting Sizewell C

November 3, 2020, 3:03PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Artist’s rendering of the Sizewell site, with Sizewell C at right. Image: EDF Energy

A BBC News story from late last week states that the U.K. government “is close to giving the green light” to EDF Energy’s proposed Sizewell C nuclear new build project in Suffolk, adding that details surrounding the project’s financing “are still being hammered out.”

The Sizewell C station, consisting of twin European pressurized reactors (EPRs), would be built next to Sizewell B, a 1,198-MWe pressurized water reactor that began operation in 1995. (The Sizewell site also houses Sizewell A, a 290-MWe Magnox gas-cooled reactor, but that unit was permanently shuttered in 2006.) Sizewell C would be a near copy of the two-unit Hinkley Point C station, currently under construction in Somerset.

Regulator releases report on Flamanville-3 pre-operational safety

August 14, 2020, 7:27AMNuclear News

The Flamanville nuclear plant. Photo: EDF

The French nuclear safety authority, Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), has released an International Atomic Energy Agency report on a pre-operational safety review team (pre-OSART) mission conducted in 2019 at the Flamanville nuclear plant to review the safety status of its Unit 3 EPR reactor, currently under construction.

According to the report, the pre-OSART mission at Flamanville-3 reviewed the following areas: leadership and management for safety, training and qualification, operations, maintenance, technical support, operating experience feedback, radiation protection, chemistry, emergency preparedness and response, accident management, human-technology-organization interaction, and commissioning. The review was performed by a team from Canada, Finland, Germany, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United States, along with IAEA staff members and observers from Russia and South Korea.

New design center supports construction of Hinkley Point C

July 21, 2020, 9:38AMNuclear News

UK EPR Design Centre, Bristol, England. Image: EDF Energy

EDF Energy has opened a new engineering design facility in Bristol, England, to support the next phase of construction at the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, the company announced on July 14. The UK EPR Design Centre at Aztec West brings together nuclear designers and engineers from EDF and British engineering partners and suppliers, including Framatome UK, Atkins, Jacobs, Assystem, Anotech, and Vulcain, the announcement said.

EDF submits application to build Sizewell C station

June 1, 2020, 1:07PMNuclear News

Artist’s rendering of the Sizewell site, with Sizewell C at right. Image: EDF Energy

Électricité de France subsidiary EDF Energy has submitted an application to the United Kingdom government’s Planning Inspectorate for a development consent order (DCO) to build a new power station, Sizewell C, at the Sizewell nuclear site in Suffolk. The agency received the application on May 27, after it had been deferred for two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.