Open main menu

The Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant is located at Flamanville, Manche, France on the Cotentin Peninsula. The power plant houses two pressurized water reactors (PWRs) that produce 1.3 GWe each and came into service in 1986 and 1987, respectively. It produced 18.9 TWh in 2005, which amounted to 4% of the electricity production in France. In 2006 this figure was about 3.3%.

Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant
Flamanville-Diélette (Manche, Fr) vue sur la centrale nucléaire.jpg
Official nameCentrale Nucléaire de Flamanville
LocationFlamanville, Manche, Normandy
Coordinates49°32′11″N 1°52′54″W / 49.53639°N 1.88167°W / 49.53639; -1.88167Coordinates: 49°32′11″N 1°52′54″W / 49.53639°N 1.88167°W / 49.53639; -1.88167
Construction beganUnit 1: December 1, 1979
Unit 2: May 1, 1980
Unit 3: December 3, 2007
Commission dateUnit 1: December 1, 1986
Unit 2: March 9, 1987
Unit 3: 2019 (scheduled)
Nuclear power station
Reactor typePWR
Reactor supplierFramatome
Cooling sourceEnglish Channel
Thermal capacity2 × 3817 MWth
Power generation
Units operational2 × 1330 MW
Make and modelUnits 1–2: P4 REP 1300
Unit 3: EPR
Units under const.1 × 1600 MW EPR
Nameplate capacity2660 MW
Capacity factor60.08% (2017)
70.55% (lifetime)
Annual net output13,999 GWh (2017)
External links
WebsiteCentrale nucléaire de Flamanville
Centrale nucléaire de Flamanville 3
CommonsRelated media on Commons

A third reactor at the site, an EPR unit, is currently under construction. As of July 2016, the project was three times over budget and years behind schedule. Various safety problems have been raised, including weakness in the steel used in the reactor.[1]

1978 picture showing the blasting that was done to demolish the cliffs and old, under-sea iron ore mines, before the reactors were built.

In 2006, before the start of construction of the EPR (unit 3), there were 671 workers regularly working at the two operational reactors.

Unit 3Edit

Construction on a new reactor, Flamanville 3, began on 4 December 2007.[2] The new unit is an Areva European Pressurized Reactor type and is planned to have a nameplate capacity of 1,650 MWe.

EDF has previously said France's first EPR would cost €3.3 billion[2] and start commercial operations in 2012, after construction lasting 54 months.[3] The latest cost estimate (July 2018) is at €10.9 billion.[4]

On 3 December 2012 EDF announced that the estimated costs have escalated to €8.5 billion ($11 billion), and the completion of construction is delayed to 2016.[5] The next day the Italian power company Enel announced it was relinquishing its 12.5% stake in the project, and 5 future EPRs, so would be reimbursed its project stake of €613 million plus interest.[6][7]

In November 2014 EDF announced that completion of construction was delayed to 2017 due to delays in component delivery by Areva.[8]

In April 2015 Areva informed the French nuclear regulator, Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (ASN), that anomalies had been detected in the reactor vessel steel, causing "lower than expected mechanical toughness values". Further tests are underway.[9][10]Segolene Royal, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy in the Second Valls Government, has asked the producer for further details and possible consequences.[11]

Various safety problems have been raised, including weakness in the steel used in the reactor[12] together with heterogeneity of the steel alloy forged high integrity components used in the reactor pressure vessel,[13] that have also been shown to be present in Japanese-sourced components that have entered the French nuclear equipment supply chain.[14][15] The safety of the Flamanville EPR plant has also been questioned due to the danger of flooding of the kind experienced during the 1999 Blayais Nuclear Power Plant flood.[16] In June 2015 multiple faults in cooling system safety valves were discovered by ASN.[17]

The EPR (Flamanville 3) aimed to be safer than any previous reactor, but as of 2016 the project is three times over budget and years behind schedule. In September 2015 EDF announced that the estimated costs had escalated to €10.5 billion, and the start-up of the reactor was delayed to the fourth quarter of 2018.[18]

The delays of Unit 3 of Flamanville received additional attention when in December 2016 The Economist reported that the British loan guarantees for Hinkley Point C require Unit 3 to be operational by 2020, that the regulator will rule on the future of Unit 3 mid-2017 and that one possible outcome of this ruling can delay its opening far beyond 2018, thus jeopardizing the British loan guarantees thereby preventing EDF from building the EPRs at Hinkley Point.[19] In February 2017 renewed delays in the construction of the EPR-reactors at Taishan Nuclear Power Plant prompted EDF to state that Flamanville 3 remains on schedule to start operations by the end of 2018, assuming it receives regulator approval.[20] In June 2017 the French regulator issued a provisional ruling that Flamanville 3 is safe to start.[21]

In January 2018, cold functional tests were completed.[22] In February EDF found that some secondary cooling circuit welds did not meet specifications, causing EDF to carry out further checks and a report. Following this ASN requested EDF to extend the welding checks to other systems. Hot functional tests have been postponed.[23]

In July 2018, EDF further delayed fuel loading to Q4 2019 and increased the project's cost estimate by a further €400 million ($467.1 million USD). Startup is now scheduled to occur no earlier than Q4 2022[24]. The latest project cost estimates by EDF amounted to €10.9 billion ($12.75 billion USD), three times the original cost estimates. Hot testing was planned to occur by the end of 2018.[4] However in January 2019 a delay in hot testing to February 2019 was announced.[25]

In June 2019 the regulator ASN determined that 8 welds in steam transfer pipes passing through the two wall containment, that EDF had hoped to repair after startup, must be repaired before the reactor is commissioned. The impact on schedule and cost is being evaluated.[26]


On 9 February 2017 a mechanical problem with a fan in the turbine hall caused an explosion and fire, causing five people to be treated for smoke inhalation. While the non-nuclear accident did not cause any radioactive leak, it did cause the number one reactor to be disconnected from the power grid.[27][28] EDF initially estimated the reactor would be operational within a week, but later estimated the end of March.[29]

Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant at night


  1. ^ Jennifer Rankin. Flamanville: France's beleaguered forerunner to Hinkley Point C, The Guardian, 27 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Construction of Flamanville EPR begins". World Nuclear News. 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2011-03-19.
  3. ^ "Flamanville 3 concrete poured". Nuclear Engineering International. 6 December 2007. Archived from the original on June 13, 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  4. ^ a b "EDF Announces More Delays, Cost Overruns for Flamanville 3 Reactor". POWER Magazine. 25 July 2018. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Le coût de l'EPR de Flamanville encore revu à la hausse". Le Monde. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Enel Drops Participation in Flamanville EPR as Project Costs Soar by $2.6B". POWER. 6 December 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Enel and Edf Terminate their cooperation on EPR in France". Enel. 4 December 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  8. ^ Michael Stothard (18 November 2014). "EDF in fresh delay for flagship nuclear plant". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Flamanville EPR vessel anomalies under scrutiny". World Nuclear News. 7 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  10. ^ Anomalies de fabrication de la cuve de l’EPR de Flamanville. Communiqué de presse, 7 april 2015
  11. ^ 8. April 2015: Nucléaire: une nouvelle anomalie détectée sur l’EPR de Flamanville
  12. ^ Jennifer Rankin. Flamanville: France's beleaguered forerunner to Hinkley Point C, The Guardian, 27 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Review: Irregularities and Anomalies Relating to the Forged Components of le Creusot Forge, 26 September 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Review: Irregularities and Anomalies Relating to the Nuclear Reactor Primary Coolant Circuit Components Installed in Japanese Nuclear Power Plants - Part 1 French Carbon Anomaly Correlation to Japanese Nuclear Power Plants=24 October 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  15. ^ "Review: Irregularities and Anomalies Relating to the Nuclear Reactor Primary Coolant Circuit Components Installed in Japanese Nuclear Power Plants - Concluding Parts 2 & 3 - Potential Flawed Components Resident in Japanese Nuclear Power Plants=10 December 2016" (PDF). Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  16. ^ The great lesson France has to learn from Fukushima Deciphering Fukushima, published 2011-03-08, accessed 2012-05-08
  17. ^ Henry Samuel (9 June 2015). "Faulty valves in new-generation EPR nuclear reactor pose meltdown risk, inspectors warn". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  18. ^
  19. ^ "France's nuclear-energy champion is in turmoil". The Economist. 2016-12-03. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  20. ^ "EDF confirms Flamanville timetable after Taishan EPR delay". Times of India. 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
  21. ^ "French regulator says Flamanville 3 is safe to start". 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Possible reprieve for Fessenheim due to further Flamanville delays". Nuclear Engineering International. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  24. ^ "Nucléaire : l'EPR de Flamanville connaît de nouveaux retards et ne pourra pas démarrer avant 2022" (in French). 2019-06-20. Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  25. ^ "EDF gives update on Flamanville 3". Nuclear Engineering International. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  26. ^ "Weld repairs to delay Flamanville EPR start-up". World Nuclear News. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
  27. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (9 February 2017). "French nuclear power plant explosion: 'Several injured' after blast in Flamanville". Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  28. ^ "Incendie à la centrale nucléaire de Flamanville : ce que l'on sait" [Fire at the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant: What We Know]. (in French). 9 February 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  29. ^ Vaughan, Adam (21 February 2017). "EDF faces £1m a day bill to keep French nuclear reactor offline". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 February 2017.