22 October 2004 – The board of Electricité de France (EDF) has agreed to build a forerunner European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR ) nuclear reactor at Flamanville in Northern France. The decision was announced Thursday and, as required, will be referred to the National Public Debate Commission in the next few days.
Nuclear power group Framatome ANP will supply the EPR technology, which marks the second sales success for this new reactor generation, following an order from TVO in Finland in December 2003.
The Flamanville location in Normandy was selected from amongst the 20 EDF nuclear generation sites owing to the property reserves available, electricity transmission capacity to transmit the power generated, the environmental issues and the conditions for reception of the construction site and facility.
The EPR project is to be carried out over a five-year period starting in 2007. According to Pierre Gadonneix, chairman of EDF, “Launching the EPR will contribute to ensuring Europe’s energy independence in the coming decades. Eventually, its role will be to permit EDF to renew its generation plant and to do so in a competitive way. It will strengthen EDF’s technological edge and will be a technological showcase for export markets. This investment choice expresses EDF’s goal to maintain its position as the world’s leading producer of nuclear-based electricity.”
The EPR is the only reactor in the world in which in the unlikely event of a severe core meltdown would have no consequences on the area around the plant. The EPR is a pressurized water reactor which uses nuclear fuel to the full to generate a maximum of energy, while producing less waste.
With a capacity of around 1600 MW, greater availability and easy maintenance, Aveva claims that the EPR will cut kWh production costs by 10 per cent compared to current reactors. The EPR is the only third generation reactor under construction today.
The EPR was developed by Framatome and Siemens whose nuclear activities merged in January 2001 to form Framatome ANP, an Areva and Siemens company