Fuel loading at Flamanville-3 EPR nuclear project delayed to mid-2023 (France)

13 Jan 2022

EDF has officially postponed fuel loading at its 1,650 MW EPR (European Pressurized Reactors) nuclear project in Flamanville from the end of 2022 to mid-2023, due to low progress and an industrial context made difficult by the pandemic. In addition, the company experienced delays in fixing faulty weds. Consequently, the project will cost €300m more that forecast and will reach €12.7bn. In March 2020, the French government allowed EDF to postpone the deadline for commissioning its 1,650 MW EPR in Flamanville, extending it to 2024. 

The Flamanville project was initially expected to be commissioned in 2013 (completion of construction in late 2012) at an estimated cost of €3.3bn. Technical problems have led to significant delays and cost escalation. In October 2019, EDF revised the construction schedule for the nuclear project and raised the estimated construction cost by €1.5bn to €12.4bn, due to technical problems. According to a 2020 review of the French Court of Audit (Cour des Comptes), the estimated construction cost of EDF’s EPR nuclear project in Flamanville might rise to €19.1bn (+€6.7bn, including €4.2bn in financial costs) due to additional costs. Consequently, the production cost of the electricity generated by the EPR could reach between €110/MWh and €120/MWh.

France has 56 PWR nuclear reactors totalling 61 GW on 18 sites. The first 880 MW PWR reactor at the Fessenheim plant was stopped in February 2020, while the second unit ended operations in June 2020. Nuclear power accounted for 66% of total generation in 2020. In November 2021, the French government unveiled plans to relaunch its nuclear program, with the construction of new EPR reactors. In May 2021, EDF submitted a plan to the government on the feasibility of building six new EPRs. The site of Penly in Seine-Maritime (north-western France) was previously selected to host two possible future EPRs.

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