France's first EPR is still on schedule for operation in 2016 but factors including new regulatory requirements and lessons learned from Fukushima have pushed the calculated costs of the project up.
|Flamanville, September 2012 (Image: A Morin/EDF)
The full cost of construction of the EPR is now estimated by EDF to be €2 billion ($2.6 billion) up on the July 2011 estimate of €6 billion, taking the overall estimated cost to €8 billion ($10.5 billion).
Flamanville 3 is the first 3rd generation reactor to be built in France and also the first new nuclear plant to be built in the country in 15 years. EDF lists a number of factors, over and above "first of a kind" costs, as being responsible for the latest cost increases. This includes the development of the boiler design, additional engineering studies, and the integration of new regulatory requirements and improvements resulting from the review of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Several technical challenges, including the replacement of 45 consoles and the knock-on effects of this in terms of work scheduling and the financial impact of extending the construction deadlines, have also contributed to the increase.
With 93% of the civil engineering complete and 36% of electro-mechanical equipment in place, as well as the completion of the intake canal for the plant's pumping station in November, the company notes that the reactor remains on course to produce its first electricity in 2016.
Construction work began on the 1630 MWe unit, adjacent to two existing PWRs, at the Normandy site in 2007, when capital construction costs were estimated at €3.3 billion (2005 values) with commercial operation pencilled in for 2013. EDF revised both the cost and the startup date in 2010 and again in 2011.
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 set for 2014, although Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) earlier this year said it did not expect the plant to be "ready for regular electricity production" by then. Taishan 1, which has been under construction since 2009, is expected to start up in October 2013.
EDF's UK arm, EDF Energy, said in a statement that lessons learned from Flamanville have already been included in the cost estimates submitted to the UK government for the two planned EPRs at Hinkley Point C. The company recently received a nuclear site licence for the new plant, and is working towards making a final investment decision on the project. It promised to make public cost estimates and timelines for the project "in a way that is open and transparent for all to see" once an investment decision is made, in line with the UK government's recently published Energy Bill.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News