France's EPR reactor start not delayed-EDF

PARIS, March 2 Fri Mar 2, 2012 5:59am EST

PARIS, March 2 (Reuters) - The start-up date for EDF's next-generation EPR reactor in northwestern France will not be delayed by defects found on brackets to fix a bridge on the 1,650-megawatt reactor, which will be used principally to refuel the reactor, EDF said.

Flamanville 3 is the first nuclear reactor built in France in 15 years and a landmark project for EDF, which hopes to win deals to build nuclear plants in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Concreting of the next to last level inside the reactor building was suspended whilst EDF carries out work on the brackets, the utility said on Friday.

"This part has been stopped but the other parts of construction works is still ongoing," an EDF spokeswoman said.

Work on the third reactor built on the Flamanville site in northwestern France started in 2007 with Areva's reactor first expected to start up in 2012. The start-up date has been delayed twice, delaying the production start to 2016.

"The works on the EPR are continuing as normal and the schedule still sets the start-up of the reactor for 2016," EDF said in a note.

EDF, which expects the project to cost 6 billion euros ($8.00 billion), operates France's 58 nuclear reactors.

The first EPR reactor, under construction in Olkiluoto in Finland, will not be ready for electricity production before August 2014, five years behind schedule. ($1 = 0.7501 euros) (Reporting By Muriel Boselli)

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