French utility EDF has announced a further one-year delay in the construction schedule for the Flamanville 3 EPR. The plant, which began construction in 2005, is now expected to start up in 2017.

EDF said that the revisions to the schedule were the result of ‘difficulties’ encountered by plant supplier AREVA related to the delivery of equipment, including the ‘lid’ and reactor vessel internals and the implementation of regulations for nuclear pressure equipment.

The nuclear steam supply system for the Flamanville EPR is built in successive assembly stages, and is a ‘first-of-a-kind,’ project for AREVA and its contractors. The French nuclear regulator, ASN, and various approved organisations are responsible for reviewing the technical documentation for the assembly operations and monitoring the nuclear pressure equipment assembly/manufacturing on the site. The regulator said that further to initial inspections carried out on EDF and AREVA between February and July 2014, the assembly operations involving the large components of the reactor coolant system have been carried out in ‘satisfactory conditions’. They will be gradually extended, after ASN has checked that the experience acquired during the initial activities carried out has been taken into account.

EDF says it remains committed to building new nuclear power plants.

"In spite of these construction contingencies, EDF reaffirms its commitment to New Nuclear in France, China and the United-Kingdom," the utility said.

Photo: The dome was installed at the Flamanville 3 EPR in January (© EDF – Alexis Morin)