Flamanville safety issues could delay Hinkley investment, investors warn
Utility Week, 20 April 2015
The Flamanville reactor is currently under construction in France and has already drawn criticism for running over both its schedule and budget, but fresh concerns over a manufacturing element key to the reactor’s safety has provoked fresh concern in the UK over EDF’s plans for Hinkley.
According to reports the French nuclear authority has been informed of "manufacturing anomalies" resulting in a potential weakness in the steel used to make the safety casing around the reactor.
UK investors noted on Monday morning that the impact on EDF’s earnings and the cost of the Hinkley project are likely to be negligible. But analysts at RBC Capital added that it could result in further delays to the Hinkley Point final investment decision (FiD).
“There is a likely impact to the timing of the FiD.... In summary, this is very worrying, and the fact that EDF has not elaborated on the possible impact does not help,” said analysts at RBC Capital.
A spokesperson for EDF was not immediately available to comment.
But the Office for Nuclear Regulation said in a statement that lessons would need to be learnt in France before undertaking the UK project.
“We expect learning from Flamanville to be taken into account in the manufacture of components intended for the planned new reactor at Hinkley Point C,” the ONR said.