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      maquette 3d epr2

      The EPR2 project has been strengthened since the French President’s speech at Belfort in February 2022, and benefits from the Act of June 2023 relating to the acceleration of construction procedures for nuclear new-build. An inter-ministerial delegation for nuclear new- build projects (DINN) is supervising the programme and coordinating the administrative process. These governmental measures and the Group’s reorganisation reflect the desire to provide the right conditions for the success of the EPR2 programme.

      To complete this healthy dynamic, the timetables for the regulatory review by the French nuclear safety authority (ASN) and for EDF’s project must be aligned. The acceleration of the programme will be sustained and will require all stakeholders to work in project mode.

      flamanville 3


      Long-term solutions will be implemented once the analyses and test programmes have been completed. Our understanding of the accelerated corrosion of M5 alloy used in fuel assemblies must continue to progress. Prevention measures have been defined (see Chapter 7).

      I support the initiative of an internal authorisation system (SAI) based on that used for core-fuel issues and approved by the ASN to authorise progression through the different intermediate power levels of the start-up phase.

      The first full inspection outage programme remains colossal. To prepare for it, specific, dedicated resources must now be provided and protected from unplanned activities, which are inherent to the start-up phase and the first operating cycle.

      flamanville 3 intervenants en station de pompage
      Experience that must be exploited by other projects

      A wealth of experience has been gained from the FLA3 project. The EPR2 project, which is entering its detailed design phase, must take full advantage of this. The practices relating to the operations organisation, resource requirements, the necessary flexibility of relations with Framatome, procurement of spare parts, choice of human-machine interface, layout of equipment, reliability of ventilation equipment and electrical cubicles, and integration of support systems for the main diesel generators: these all need to be analysed in depth. Strengthened by this invaluable knowledge, key players from the FLA3 project must be able to devote some of their time to the EPR2 project to ensure the transfer of their field experience.

      As mentioned in the 2022 report, the Hinkley Point C project (HPC) must seize the chance to take part in the start-up phase of FLA3. The teams on site are ready. This investment will be profitable.

      The Operator’s link with the construction, assembly and test teams on the future French and British projects must take inspiration from the ONE Fla3 approach. Although late to start, this approach has had the advantage of bringing together all the players to focus on a common goal by consolidating the position of the future owner-operator. The handover processes (for plant isolation, maintenance and operation of equipment, systems and rooms) used at FLA3 were the same as those used during the start-ups of previous reactor series. This operating experience must be exploited on the EPR2 project.

      On the construction sites of new reactors, before classification as a nuclear plant, I believe it is essential to pay greater attention, and as early as the construction phase, to the protection of industrial assets from fire, which was not the case for FLA3.

      Penly: the first EPR2 site

      The Penly site will soon host four high-power reactors: two 1300 MWe already in service, and two new EPR2s.

      The EPR2 project is benefiting from the support of the regional authorities. It minimises its footprint on both the land and maritime biodiversity by building on an already developed site and an optimised siting impact. It meets the ten technical criteria recommended by the IAEA: siting, urban planning, heat sink, soil types, external risks such as earthquakes and flooding, environmental sensitivity including discharges from an industrial facility, location and connection to the electric grid.

      HPC: the start of MEH installation

      In the UK, an important milestone was achieved when the dome of reactor 1 was installed on 15 December 2023 for the EPR at Hinkley Point C (HPC). The project will turn a new page in 2024 when the mechanical, electrical and HVAC (MEH) work will accelerate, calling for good coordination and high-quality installation. The types of industrial safety risks will change with the increasing number of activities carried out simultaneously on the site (see Chapter 3). The project will have to coordinate the assembly of the first pipes, procurement of which has experienced some delay. It will also have to establish a strong link between productivity (mass-installation) and management by milestones in relation to the civil engineering work. The work schedules, which are very ambitious compared with previous construction sites, must be achieved without compromising quality.

      Compared with the other EPR projects, HPC has a good degree of design maturity for the MEH aspect. In mid-2023, 90% of the detailed design was available and enabled the production of the installation drawings. I note that the quality control process for the equipment is robust. However, the project is still waiting on some suppliers to finish the detailed design and installation drawings. The equipment qualification programme entrusted to some suppliers also requires particular attention.

      Dome lift Video

      The strategy for the establishment of the commissioning teams is well aligned, ensuring that the future Operator benefits from acquired experience. The level of recruitment and staffing of the maintenance teams seems insufficient and needs careful attention, with the latter currently being equal to that of FLA3 even though the site will host two new reactors and 20% more equipment per reactor. Conscious of this problem, the HPC project is working on a reassessment of the maintenance staffing target by performing a comparison with those of Sizewell B, OL3 and FLA3.

      The experience from the HPC project must benefit the EPR2 project in all areas: design, civil engineering construction methods, mechanical and electrical installation, supply chain, commissioning know-how, operating model, planning methods, management tools, etc.

      chantier a hinkley point c construction du reacteur n2
      Sizewell C: replicating HPC

      The Sizewell C EPR project is resolutely driven towards the replication of HPC. This choice must be maintained over time. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) officially supports this principle, which is key to efficiency, quality and thus nuclear safety. Replication involves the transfer of the detailed design and the construction drawings. As a result of the differing ownership models and corporate cultures, the risk of design deviations must be monitored for the duration of the project. The environment, geology, and the site layout plan associated with the specific features and close proximity of the Sizewell B PWR entail changes that must not challenge the principle of replication. Regulatory changes in the fields of fire safety and ALARA will call for substantiation reports. Lastly, the acceleration of the construction schedule must not lead to choosing options that call the design into question.

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