Fessenheim restart delayed

11 July 2017

Electricite de France (EDF) has postponed the restart of unit 2 at its Fessenheim NPP by three months until 31 January 2018 because a safety assessment of a steam generator is taking longer than expected. The 900MWe reactor was shut down in June 2016 after the French Nuclear Safety Authority suspended the test certificate for one of the steam generators following the detection of irregularities in the manufacturing process at Areva's Creusot Forge.

ASN then launched an investigation to discover the location of potentially defective parts and whether they were in use and were safe. EDF said ASN's analysis of the steam generator was ongoing.

The two Fessenheim power reactors are the oldest in France and are scheduled for shutdown as soon as the EPR reactor under construction at Flamanville 3 is operational. The previous French government signed a decree in April indicating that Fessenheim will stop operating by April 2020 as a first step towards cutting the share of nuclear power in its electricity mix to 50% by 2025 from over 75% currently. 

French Minister of Ecological and Social Transition Nicolas Hulot has reaffirmed France’s commitment to reduce the nuclear share. He told RTL radio on 10 July: "To meet the target it's clear enough that you need to close a certain number of reactors. It could be as many as 17 reactors - we'll have to take a closer look." EDF’s 58 nuclear reactors produce some of the lowest-cost electricity in Europe and generate revenue of some €3bn  ($3.4bn) a year from exports to neighbouring countries.

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