French power company EDF said on 21 January that it would make further tests in February on faulty weldings at unit 3 of its Flamanville nuclear plant, construction of which has been delayed by technical problems.
“EDF actively continues to implement the action plan on welds of the main secondary system announced on 25 July 2018. Hot testing, previously planned for 2018 is now scheduled to start in the second half of February," EDF said in a statement.
Construction of the 1650MWe Flamanville EPR started in December 2007, and it was initially expected to begin operation in 2013, but following many delays, this was pushed back to 2018. However, in April 2018, problems were found with the welds in the secondary system. In July, these issues led to EDF again delaying startup of the EPR reactor to the second quarter of 2020, pushing its cost estimate up to three times the original figure. EDF said at the time that 53 welds on Flamanville 3’s secondary circuit would need to be repaired, it was confident that it could convince the ASN that ten more were fit for service, and 85 needed no repairs.
The expected cost of building the Flamanville 3 EPR had increased to €10.9bn ($12.7bn) in 2018 as a result of the delays. EDF said in its latest statement that it would keep the targeted construction costs at €10.9 billion and now expected to complete loading of nuclear fuel during the fourth quarter of 2019.