EDF delays Flamanville 3 nuclear project again

Monday, August 22, 2011

PARIS, July 20 (Reuters) - EDF has delayed the completion of its first French next-generation EPR nuclear reactor by another two years to 2016, saying it expects the project's costs to rise to 6 billion euros ($8.52 billion).

In July 2010, the state-controlled utility had delayed the commercial start of the 1,600 megawatt nuclear reactor by two years to 2014. It had also previously raised its cost estimate for the project in northern France by almost 2 billion euros to 5 billion euros.

"This delay is linked to both structural and economic reasons," EDF said on Wednesday, citing two serious accidents on the construction sites and safety tests carried out after the Fukushima accident among the reasons behind the fresh delay.

EDF shares were up 1 percent in late afternoon trading, underperforming the European sector , which was up 1.6 percent.

EDF, which operates France's 58 nuclear reactors, said 80 percent of the civil engineering work of the Flamanville 3 project had now been completed, and that work had started to assemble the piping and electrical equipment.

Flamanville 3 is the first nuclear reactor built in France in 15 years and a landmark project for EDF, which hopes to capitalise on three decades of experience to win deals to build nuclear plants in countries like the United Kingdom and Brazil.

French nuclear reactor maker Areva, civil engineering group Bouygues and turbo generator provider Alstom are also involved in the construction of Flamanville 3.

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