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Monday
Jul172017

EDF looking to keep flawed part in reactor to save $115 million

In September, the French nuclear safety authority, ASN, will render its final verdict on whether or not a flawed reactor vessel head, installed in the Flamanville reactor under construction in France, should stay put. ASN already hinted in July that it will greenlight the reactor to operate with the flawed part, as long as owner EDF replaces it about seven years into operation. But now EDF is asserting that maintenance and vigilance will likely be enough to avoid replacing the part altogether. The vessel head has carbon anomalies that could result in cracking and rupture of containment and a meltdown. But clearly EDF wants to avoid the hefty $115 million price tag for replacing the part. The Flamanville project, a French EPR design, has already tripled its original cost estimate, ballooning to more than $12 billion and is years behind schedule.

The flawed component came from the Creusot Forge, now closed as a investigation looks into how many similarly flawed parts might have been installed in other reactors, including 17 in the U.S. identified by Areva which owns the forge. Activists in France have a petition to ASN urging the agency not to approve the flawed component at all and calling for an end to the ill-fated an unnecessary EPR project. More