EdF allowed to continue concreting

20 June 2008

Concreting work is to recommence at the Flamanville 3 nuclear power site, after safety authorities accepted Electricité de France's (EdF's) plans to improve quality control.


Flamanville concrete (EdF) 
Pouring concrete at Flamanville
(Image: EdF)
Work was suspended from 26 May after non-compliances were found in steelworks laid part of plant building foundations. Inspectors from France's Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité De Sûreté Nucléaire, ASN) had already discovered similar non-compliances during an inspection in March and had been aware of other "anomalies" since the start of 2008. 


ASN wrote in letters to EdF managers that the second occurrence of the problem showed there were "major shortcomings" in quality control and the persistent non-compliance highlighted a "lack of rigour" from the company and as well as a "lack of discipline" in controlling its subcontractors. EdF were told to suspend concreting work at the site and prepare a corrective action plan.


ASN said on 19 June that it had accepted the EdF's plan, which focused on improving "the rigour of technical checks by subcontractors and site supervision." EdF said they would bring in an external technical body to oversee the checks and would strengthen safety culture by training workers from all the companies involved.


EdF is required to give progress reports on their plan to ASN every month for the next six months, and ensure that all steelwork is checked by the external technical body during the period of training. At the end of the six months EdF is to give an assessment of the plan's efficacy. It has also been told to conduct a root-cause analysis of the issue.


EdF is building an Areva EPR pressurized water reactor at Flamanville, alongside two existing units. The unit is the second of the type to begin construction, after Olkiluoto 3 in Finland. That unit has also suffered delays related to concreting work and an apparent lack of necessary quality control from subcontractors.