delay and additional cost for EDF reactors in the United Kingdom

The EPR continues to accumulate delays. This time, it is the future next-generation nuclear reactors at the Hinkley Point site in the United Kingdom that are concerned. EDF announced Thursday, May 20, that the construction site would be delayed by another year and additional costs of at least 3 billion pounds (3.5 million euros). “The start of electricity production for Unit 1 is now scheduled for June 2027. The risk of postponing the delivery of the two units is assessed at fifteen months, assuming the absence of a new pandemic and additional effect. of the war in Ukraine », the group said in a statement. The Hinkley Point power station is located in Somerset, in the south-west of England.

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Initially, the start was planned for the end of 2025, and it had already been postponed, last year, to June 2026. The delay is attributed to the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic: “People, resources and the supply chain have been stretched and their effectiveness has been limited. In addition, the volume of studies and civil engineering works, and the cost of these works and in particular of maritime works, have increased”explains the group.

The next milestone will be the installation of the dome on unit 1 of the plant, in the second quarter of 2023, compared to the end of 2022 previously.

Soaring costs on other EPRs

EDF estimates the amount of the project “between 25 and 26 billion pounds sterling” against 18 billion in 2016, when the British government gave the green light and the start of construction. The project, originally controversial and contested by French unions for its cost, had already been reassessed at 22 to 23 billion pounds.

The EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) is a model of nuclear reactor that is more powerful and designed to be safer than previous generations. Three are complete, in Finland and China, and three are under construction, one in France and two at Hinkley Point. But the Finnish reactor (Olkiluoto-3) started in March twelve years late, and of the two Chinese EPRs commissioned in 2018 and 2019, one has been shut down since July 2021 for technical problems.

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As for the French reactor, in Flamanville, in the English Channel, the cumulative delays reach eleven years for a fuel loading now scheduled for 2and quarter of 2023, and the cost rose to 12.7 billion euros according to EDF’s estimate on January 12, 2022. In 2006, this very powerful 1.650 MW reactor was announced at 3.3 billion euros.

EDF has accumulated bad news since the beginning of the year. The group had to be recapitalized in April, and its profit will plunge this year in large part because the French state has asked it to sell more electricity at low prices – a file on which the CEO publicly opposes the government. . In addition to the delays of the French and English EPRs, the group must also solve a problem of corrosion of pipes which forced it to stop 12 of its 56 French reactors. In total, more than half of the reactors in France are now shut down for maintenance.

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The World with AFP


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