EPR costs : a blow to the nuclear renaissance

EPR nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville, FranceI have to say that I now have mixed feelings about nuclear. Since I wrote and published my 10 reasons to support nuclear – by far my most popular post on this blog – the catastrophe at Fukushima took place.

Now the main French utility – Electricité de France, aka EDF – announced that its EPR reactor in Flamanville, France, will cost a massive two billion euros more than previously forecasted, now totally 8.5 billion euros.

Until Fukushima many were forecasting a nuclear renaissance. I guess these additional costs will be another severe blow to their hopes and to EDF’s business model.

As Reuters noted :

French utility EDF has raised the cost of the construction of its next-generation nuclear reactor by more than 2 billion euros on Monday, the latest in a series of overruns for the first EPR reactor built in France.

Stricter regulation in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster contributed to bringing the total cost of the 1,600-MW Flamanville European pressurized reactor to 8.5 billion euros ($11.11 billion), the group said.

In 2005, the state-owned utility estimated the reactor’s cost at 3.3 billion euros.

(…) Flamanville 3 is the first nuclear reactor built in France in 15 years and a landmark project for EDF, which hopes to capitalize on three decades of experience to win deals to build nuclear plants abroad.

Repeated delays have also hit the construction of the first EPR reactor, Finland’s Olkiluoto 3, built by French nuclear group Areva and Germany’s Siemens.

EDF, which operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors, said it had completed 93 percent of the civil engineering and 36 percent of the electro-mechanical equipment in place.

As Kees van der Leun noted on Twitter, for this money, EDF could have bought five gigawatts of solar photovoltaic or €300 LED-lamps per household in France.

Knowing this, I believe it is more and more certain that we should go for efficiency and renewables and leave nuclear for the time being. Thorium and fusion might make nuclear safer and its future brighter, but it won’t happen before a few decades…

2 thoughts on “EPR costs : a blow to the nuclear renaissance”

  1. Yes. this is why I am less and less supporting nuclear. Since my post in 2009, a lot has changed regarding energy. Fukushima, the huge overcosts of the EPR, the massive rise of renewables…

    Anyway, thanks for your comment Olivier 🙂

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