(Montel) EDF is on track to start up its under construction new generation European pressurised reactor in 2023 as scheduled, despite a “strained” timetable amid the coronavirus crisis, the firm's CEO Jean-Bernard Levy said on Wednesday.
“I maintain that construction of the Flamanville 3 [reactor] will be finished at the end of next year and [that we should] see fuel loading in the last few days or weeks of 2022,” Levy told a parliamentary committee.
The 1.6 GW reactor should start up commercial operation six months later, towards the middle of 2023, he added.
“This is a project whose calendar remains under strain,” he said but added the firm “[had] not experienced any delays” in construction due to the disruption of nuclear fleet maintenance last spring, during the first wave of the coronavirus crisis.
State-owned EDF had prioritised work on the EPR, even though the company had been obliged to slow down construction between mid-March and the beginning of May, during France’s first lockdown.
The project is 11 years behind schedule and its original EUR 3.3bn budget has spiralled to EUR 12.4bn – although a report by auditors in July said it could cost as much as EUR 19.1bn to complete.
Last month, EDF delayed by six months – to June 2026 – the start-up of two 1.6 GW EPRs at Hinkley Point C in the UK.