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22nd April 2015 - - 0 comments
Britain to Learn Lessons from French Nuclear Reactor Problems
Flamanville 3 (pictured above)  has been marred by expensive construction delays. 

The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation has said that lessons need to be learned from the problems faced by the French reactor which is very similar to the one planned at Hinkley Point, in Somerset.

French regulators said on Friday that the weak spots found in the nuclear reactor are “very serious” and could be very expensive to correct.

The reactor, located in Flamanville, is being designed by French state- owned company Areva, for EDF Energy.

Pierre-Franck Chevet, head of the ASN regulator, said that the “manufacturing anomalies” found at the bottom and lid of the reactor affect the resistance of the metal.

“This is a serious, even very serious, anomaly as it affects an absolutely crucial reactor component on which no risk of rupture can be taken," he told the French Press.

EDF Energy, working on both projects, said a new series of tests was under way and it was working with regulators. The investigation found potential weaknesses in the steel which is used to make a safety casing around the reactor.

The UK Office for Nuclear Regulation said it was aware of the French Nuclear Safety Authority's concerns about the reactor and would continue to liaise with French authorities.

"The UK currently have no EPR reactors but expects that learning from Flamanville 3 will be taken into account in the manufacture of components intended for the planned new reactor at Hinkley Point C," it said.

The safety issues could further delay the completion of the planned £24.5bn nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point.

Adam Gould, senior inspector at Code A Weld, says: “Certain parts of the welding industry have been rather unregulated for far too long.”

“But with the recent changes regarding the CE- marking of steel along with stories regarding potential new nuclear builds, I'm hoping that 'quality' will drip down and spread throughout others sectors.”, he says. 

Via BBC 

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