Nuclear: Flamanville restart postponed again

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The Flamanville nuclear power station (Manche) on September 28, 2015 (AFP / CHARLY TRIBALLEAU)

The restart of the two reactors at Flamanville (Manche) is once again postponed for several months, we learned from EDF while the nuclear power plant has accumulated setbacks.

Reactor 2, which has been under maintenance since January 2019, and Reactor 1, shutdown in September due to corrosion problems, are unavailable until May 31, according to EDF.

In mid-December the group mentioned a restart on February 29 for reactor 2 and January 31 for reactor 1.

The energy giant has since announced that it will have to replace the engine of the combustion turbine which supplies electricity to the reactor backup systems. “Microcracks” were indeed detected there, according to an EDF press release dated February 24. An incident classified as level 1 on the international scale of nuclear incidents Ines, graduated from 0 to 7, according to EDF.

Questioned Tuesday by AFP, EDF assured that there was no “particular link” between this incident and the delay. These postponements are linked to “compliance compliance within the framework of rechecks” which are part of the “austerity plan” launched by the power station when it was placed under enhanced surveillance by the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) in September , according to EDF.

The network Sortir du nuclear for its part denounces in a press release a “dilapidated equipment” in Flamanville.

In December, the Institute for Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the technical arm of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), considered that the situation at the Flamanville power plant was “very worrying” given the “major deviations in different equipment classified as “and that the two reactors could not be restarted as they are.

In a report to ASN, IRSN noted “numerous deviations from the level of classified safety equipment”, with “corrosion” sometimes “advanced” in several places in the pumping stations (which are used for cooling ).

The Institute also mentions “a leak” on circuits of the third containment barrier.

In addition, IRSN “considers it abnormal that the various processes relating to safety (…) have not made it possible to prevent the degradation of equipment important for safety”.

The Institute nevertheless considered that “the enhanced surveillance by ASN and the EDF action plan are likely to improve the situation observed for several years on the site”.

The Flamanville power plant experienced 7 level 1 incidents in 2019, 5 in 2018.

Next to reactors 1 and 2 at Flamanville, EDF is building the EPR, which is also experiencing many delays and additional costs.

clc / aag / gold

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