Lobby groups oppose the extension of France's Flamanville nuclear reactor

19/04/2017 15:52 Nuclear

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A legal challenge has been filed by several activists together with the French prime minister's office against the extension of Flamanville nuclear reactor in northern France. Greenpeace and other anti-nuclear groups started the move as a response to security concerns, being a precursor to their challenge elevation to the State Council.

According to the statement, Areva's Creusot Forge nuclear foundry has technical problems since 2005 and reactor supplier Areva was aware of it. Also, in 2014 Areva discovered that the lid of the Flamanville reactor vessel showed unusually high carbon concentrations, which weakened its steel.

 

Nuclear regulator ASN is inspecting if these irregularities impend the security of the reactor and whether EDF, which also intends to construct two Areva-designed EPR reactors at Hinkley Point in Britain, can continue with Flamanville's start-up in 2018 as scheduled. According to the statement, EDF and Areva allowed the manufacturing of damaged components, counting those for the EPR in Flamanville and ASN knew about the problems, although it has authorized EDF to install the reactor containment vessel. Now the vessel could only be extracted by destroying part of the reactor.

 

The regulator has constantly postponed its ruling on Flamanville since the end of 2015 and last month stated that a decision would be made by September 21. EDF's scheduled takeover of Areva's reactor unit Areva NP - part of a government-led rescue of virtually bankrupt Areva -- is conditional on the ASN's green light for Flamanville.

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