France Continues Path Forward on New Nuclear Generation

While many countries are still developing strategies for increasing their low-carbon electricity generation, France is moving forward with a significant new nuclear project that will help the nation maintain its status as having one of the lowest emissions per capita of any industrialized nation.
The Flamanville 3 nuclear power plant, under construction in the Normandy region of France, is part of the solution for meeting the nation’s growing demand for low-carbon energy. This reactor is AREVA’s EPR™ design and is the second in this series of advanced design.

EDF, the plant’s operator, announced a schedule revision today, as well as a new approach to organization. The modification of the timeline also includes “comprehensive analyses carried out as part of the post-Fukushima safety assessment audits (that) will be submitted to the Nuclear Safety Authority in September,” according to an EDF statement.

AREVA is working closely with EDF to optimize the EPR™ reactor based on feedback provided by the first construction projects. We are already applying this experience to improve the two EPR™ reactor construction projects in China.

“The success of the Flamanville EPR is a major challenge for the industrial expertise of the nuclear industry. We will continue to work together on the feedback from the first EPR sites in order to learn from it for the benefit of future construction projects around the world,” said Hervé Machenaud EDF’s Group Senior Executive in charge of Production and Engineering and Claude Jaouen, Senior Executive Vice President of AREVA’s Reactors and Services Business Group.

For more information on the Flamanville 3 project and AREVA’s scope, click here.
While other countries ponder their low-carbon energy dilemmas, you can take a closer look at the construction of an EPR™ reactor and see what is to come at Flamanville 3. Check out the video here of the Olkiluoto 3 EPR™ reactor construction project in Finland where AREVA has already installed the four steam generators.

  • Anonymous

    This is a disaster for Areva.  What has happened here?  Not being able to complete the reactor in France in a timely fashion is not going to help sales efforts abroad.  What happened to the France that built 54 reactors in 20 years in the 70’s?

    • Anonymous

      France was indeed very successful in building its initial fleet of reactors, a feat that has markedly reduced its dependence on fossil fuels. AREVA and its predecessor companies gained enormous experience building reactors as a part of this. As of today we have constructed over 100 reactors around the world.

      But the challenges of constructing a modern reactor with its advanced safety and operational systems requires a significant effort and precise attention to details. And each project site has unique requirements to consider as we’re building this first fleet of Generation III+ nuclear reactors.

      All the people working on this project want to ensure every part is properly installed. We will not rush or shortcut the construction. But with each project, we get better at projecting appropriate timelines and completion dates.

      • Anonymous

        I appreciate the response, and I very much want to see Areva (and EDF) succeed, as well as the other suppliers of nuclear power stations.  Supplying cheap, reliable, non-polluting energy which does not contribute to climate change is the most important challenge of this century, and I think can only be met with nuclear power.

        I understand the FOAK aspects of the construction (although Olkiluoto is really the FOAK), but I wonder if the West in general has lost a lot of ability in terms of large construction projects (lack of practice?).  It may become tiresome to have it pointed out, but at present China seems to be getting things done on time and on budget, whether it is high-speed rail, highways, bridges, or nuclear power plants.  Perhaps it is just that they have a lot of people at this point who know how to pour concrete.  Or, perhaps they are NOT paying attention to detail, I don’t know.

        Whatever the reasons, I really hope that we (and I’m not picking on France here, but include the US in this) can get our ‘mojo’ back and figure out once again how to do these large projects well.