United Kingdom to build two EPR nuclear reactors

A rendition of the future Hinkley Point C nuclear plantWould you buy two examples of a very expensive and complex product that nobody has ever seen functioning ? The most likely answer is ” No “. Yet that’s exactly what the United Kingdom did buy buying Monday two EPR reactors.

The European Pressurized Reactor  is an evolution of third generation nuclear reactors. It was developed by Areva and Siemens – who since withdrew from the project – in the 1990s and 2000s.

To date, four EPR reactors are being built : one in Finland, one in France and two in China. Most of them have been plagued by significant over-costs and major problems.

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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.

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EPR reactor is being built in France

nuclear.jpgAccording to the French daily Le Figaro in its Monday edition, the construction of the first EPR reactor in France has begun and is going on well.

The EPR technology provides several improvements to the current nuclear plants, including increased yield and security, decreased waste and radiations.

This reactor will be operational in 2012 and will produce 1.650 MW. In this article I outline the specificities of this reactor and its commercial potential.

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