immersed in the heart of the construction site, as it comes to an end

Maud Descamps

EDF is busy at the EPR site in Flamanville, Normandy. At a time when French President Emmanuel Macron wants to build six additional EPRs, the completion of the nuclear power plant is decisive for EDF, which wants to turn the page after 12 years of delay and a bill multiplied by 4, from 3.5 to 12.7 billion euros. Europe 1 takes you on a site visit.

“We are over 95% of the level of completion.” Alain Morvan is delighted with the progress of work on the new EDF nuclear power plant, of which he is the director. In the corridors of the building that houses the Flamanville-3 reactor, 3,000 employees and supporters are busy in the scent of fresh paint. Under the huge concrete dome 60 meters high, it’s time for the finishing touches. The site is almost complete, after almost 12 years of delay and an invoice multiplied by 4, from 3.5 to 12.7 billion euros.

It’s the last straight line. In Flamanville, EDF displays its ambition to start the EPR next year after countless delays and adventures, but the schedule is tight with technical problems still to be resolved on the new generation nuclear reactor. “We have exceeded 95% of the level of completion”, confides to Europe 1 Alain Morvan, director of CNPE Flamanville. “We have to finish in order to be able to start the Flamanville 3 reactor in the second quarter of 2023.”

A start-up in a year if all goes well

But there are still two major challenges. First, the welds pointed out by the Nuclear Safety Authority – 59% have been repaired. The aim is to complete them all by the end of the year. Frédéric is Romanian and is part of the team of welders who guide the super robots that do the repairs. “We are welding the outside of the steam circuits,” he confides. “We do this by computer, mainly to guide the robots.”

Once the welds have been repaired, it will be necessary to get the sesame: the authorization to load the fuel, that is to say the uranium pellets that are placed in the heart of the reactor. Then it will be the commissioning of the plant in a year, if all goes well.


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