Electricite de France (EdF) announced that construction of the third reactor at the Flamanville nuclear power plant in Normandy had started on schedule. The new reactor is a demonstration unit of Areva's 1650 MWe Evolutionary Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR).
EdF said that more than a day's continuous pouring of over 10,000 tonnes of concrete will be needed to create the first part of the slab for the floor of the future reactor building. The official inauguration will take place in the near future.
Preparatory works for the reactor started in the summer of 2006. EdF said that the construction will last for 54 months until the reactor is brought into service, which is scheduled for 2012. The reactor, a third-generation design, is similar to the one under construction at Olkiluoto, Finland.
EdF will invest some Eur3.3 billion ($4.8 billion) during the construction phase. The reactor will be supplied by Areva, while Bouygues will provide the main civil engineering and Alstom will supply the turbine-generator. There are currently some 700 people working on the site, but this is expected to increase to more than 2000 at the height of the construction activity.
The Flamanville site already hosts two 1330 MWe pressurized water reactors (PWRs), which began operating in 1986 and 1987, respectively. EdF's board of directors decided in October 2004 to site France's first EPR at the Flamanville site.
The construction of the Flamanville EPR will form part of the programme to relaunch EdF's investments in providing an additional electricity production capacity of 6000 MW in France between now and 2012. In August 2005, EdF announced that it plans to replace its 58 present reactors with EPR nuclear reactors from 2020, at the rate of about one 1600 MWe unit per year. It would require 40 of these to reach present capacity. This will be confirmed about 2015 on the basis of experience with the initial EPR unit at Flamanville.
Pierre Gadonneix, chair and CEO of EdF, said: "The start of the construction of the nuclear block is a major step in the creation of the EPR at Flamanville. The experience, expertise and knowledge of the EDF teams, in particular their skill in the construction works and engineering, have allowed the construction to stick strictly to schedule. The success of the Flamanville site is essential and will benefit the whole French nuclear industry, since this technology is currently recognised as an innovative, safe and competitive solution throughout the world."
Electricite de FranceWNA's French Nuclear Power Program information paper
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