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Posts Tagged ‘Flammanville’


Monday, August 2nd, 2010

In a week when comprehensive energy legislation with meaningful nuclear provisions craters, the next round of loan guarantees look shaky and the completion of Areva’s flagship Flammanville plant is delayed, there isn’t too much in the way of good news.

One glimmer of hope, however. According to Scientific American, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission may be laboring toward approval of the Westinghouse AP1000 by September 2011. The NRC has been fiddling around since 2005 with a huge concrete-and-steel shield that is supposed to protect the reactor from airplane attacks.

Apparently the Department of Energy test in the 1990s showing that an F-4 traveling at 500 miles an hour would disintegrate if it hit a containment wall has not been sufficient. Westinghouse originally had the shield at ground level. Then after concerns about terrorist hijacked airplane crashes arose, it voluntarily lifted the shield to a more elevated position. After considering the new design for two years, however, the NRC decided it was not earthquake rigorous and sent Westinghouse back to the drawing boards.

Westinghouse has not yet submitted a new design, but Scientific American reporter Robynne Boyd ventures a guess that its design approval may come by next year. The date is significant because it marks the time China is expected to start its second round of AP1000 construction at Sanmen. The first two reactors are well underway and expected to be completed in 2013. Toshiba, which now owns Westinghouse, and the Shaw Group, of Baton Rouge, are participating in the projects. After units 3 and 4, however, China plans to build the next two units without foreign help.

To the swift goes the race.

Read more at Scientific American


Friday, July 30th, 2010

EDF, the French national utility company, is expected to announce today that its Flammanville reactor, already behind schedule and over budget, will cost an addition 1 billion Euros and be delayed another two years.

In its semi-annual financial statement, due out today, EDF is expected to escalate anticipated costs to 5.0 billion Euros. The 1,630-megawatt reactor – Areva’s vaunted EPR design – was originally scheduled to cost 3.3 billion Euros and be finished by this year. Cost estimates were raised to 4.0 billion Euros in 2008 because of rising material costs and full operation postponed until 2012. It is now scheduled for 2014.

Areva has had similar difficulties in Finland with its Olkiluoto reactor, an identical design. The project is taking six years to build instead of the original three and costs have nearly doubled from the original 3.0 billion Euros to 5.7 billion.  Areva is suing its customer, the Finnish utility TVO, for allegedly causing 1 billion Euros in cost overruns.

Read more at Nuclear Power Daily