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Defects Found At EDF’s Nuclear Reactor

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The Times

The new generation of nuclear reactors destined for Britain faced a setback today after a quality control failure was declared at one being built in France.

EDF, the French electricity group, said it had detected defects with the welding at the European pressurised reactor (EPR) under construction at Flamanville in Normandy. The company said it had alerted the French authorities to what it described as a “significant event” that could have an impact on the cost and timetable of the plant.

EDF is leading the project to build two French-designed EPRs at Hinkley Point in Somerset at an estimated cost of £19.5 billion. The EPR programme has been beset by problems around the world, however.

The reactor being built at Flamanville was initially due to come on stream in 2012 at a cost of €3.3 billion. EDF is now hoping to switch it on next year, and says the reactor will cost €10.5 billion. The latest setback could mean that it will cost even more and delay its start-up even further.

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