French nuclear regulator, the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN), has authorised the commissioning of the Flamanville EPR reactor, paving the way for its connection to the grid in summer 2024. The authorisation allows EDF to load nuclear fuel into the reactor and carry out start-up tests, followed by operation of the reactor.

The decision follows a public consultation held from 27th March to 17th April, 2024. ASN has issued technical requirements, including supervising the start-up tests, monitoring feedback from other EPR reactors worldwide, and specifying deadlines for replacing certain components.

Construction of the 1,650 MWe Flamanville 3 reactor began in December 2007, with an initial target of commercial operation in 2013. However, the project has faced significant delays and cost overruns, with the latest estimate by EDF putting the total cost at €13.2 billion ($14.2 billion).

The Flamanville EPR is the first of its kind in France, following the commissioning of EPR reactors in China (Taishan 1 and 2) and Finland (Olkiluoto 3). Two more EPR units are under construction at Hinkley Point C in the UK.

Image: View of Flamanville 3, 2 and 1 (courtesy of EDF)