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Areva’s nuclear reactor vessel flaws may be “costly”

Areva European Pressurized Reactor nuclear Flamanville 3 France EDF

The French nuclear regulator says anomalies found in Areva’s nuclear reactor technology are “very serious” and may be costly to fix.
Areva announced April 7 that it found weak spots in the bottom and lid of the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) vessel, which could reduce the resistance of the metal.  Areva said it discovered the flaw during mechanical and chemical tests of a representative model and reported the findings to the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).
The ASN told Reuters that a similar Areva forging technique had been used in five EPRs currently in the planning stage or under construction. Two are in Taishan, China and another two are set for the Hinkley Point C project in England. Components have been manufactured for one reactor at the Calvert Cliffs site in Maryland, the article said. Areva did not confirm in the article if the components for the Hinkley Point project had already been manufactured. The vessel for the Flamanville project in France has been largely installed, and results of more tests on that vessel are due in October.
An official was quoted as saying in the article that if those test results were negative, plant owner EDF would either have to abandon the project of take out the vessel and build a new one. The Flamanville project is already years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget. An EPR under construction in Olkiluoto, Finland, was not affected because the vessel was not forged by Areva, but by a Japanese company. That project is also behind schedule and over budget.

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