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French NGOs try to block Flamanville vessel approval

28 Nov 2018 14:57

28 Nov 2018 14:57

(Montel) Four non-governmental organisations filed a lawsuit on Wednesday to block the authorisation given by France’s ASN nuclear safety authority for the commissioning of the reactor vessel at the under construction Flamanville nuclear plant.

Sortir du Nucléaire, Greenpeace France, along with two other protest groups said this authorisation “should never have been granted” because the vessel of the reactor under construction in Flamanville “does not fulfill the initially required safety features”.

Due to manufacturing defects of the vessel made by Areva NP (now Framatome), it did not comply with safety principles and could break, the NGOs said in their filing to France’s highest administrative court – the Council of State.

Safety undermined
“The safety margins needed to cope with unexpected events and the ageing of a reactor expected to operate for 60 years are irrevocably undermined,” the NGOs said.

The ASN had qualified this anomaly as “very serious”, before finally giving its approval for the commissioning of the vessel in October.

The French nuclear watchdog nevertheless asked EDF to change the lid of the vessel by 2024 and to put in place additional surveillance measures.

The new generation European pressurised reactor at Flamanville has been beset by delays since its inception in 2007, with start-up initially planned for 2012, while the estimated cost has tripled to EUR 10.5bn.

Its commissioning is currently planned for the end of 2019, with commercial start-up expected in mid-2020.

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