Vessel installed at French EPR

27 January 2014

Construction of France's first EPR unit at the Flamanville nuclear power plant passed another major milestone last week with the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) being lowered into place.

Flamanville vessel installation 460 (EDF)
The vessel is manoeuvred within the reactor building using the polar crane ...
Flamanville RPV installation 460 (EDF)
... before being carefully lowered into Flamanville 3's reactor pit (Images: EDF)

The operation to install the component - weighing more 425 tonnes, with a diameter of 5.5 metres and a height of 11 metres - took three days and was completed on 24 January.

The RPV was delivered to the construction site of Flamanville 3 in October 2013. However, its installation was postponed by a few weeks due to concerns by the French nuclear regulator, the ASN (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire), over compliance issues with the unit's polar crane and associated heavy lifting equipment.

Areva said that the emplacement of the RPV "marks the ramp-up of installation work in the nuclear island at the Flamanville EPR construction site." Over the coming months the unit's four steam generators will be put in place within the reactor building.

Construction work began on the 1650 MWe unit at the Normandy site in December 2007. EDF is architect engineer of the project, while Areva is contributing the nuclear steam supply system and Bouygues Construction is leading the civil engineering consortium. The dome of the reactor building was put in place in mid-July 2013. The reactor was originally expected to start commercial operation in 2013, but due to delays is now expected to start up in 2016.

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 2016. Taishan 1, which has been under construction since 2009, is expected to start up in 2014, while Taishan 2 is scheduled to begin operating a year later.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News