[Flamanville EPR Series] EDF Completes Fuel Loading with ASN Validation

It took EDF one week to load fuel into the Flamanville EPR. The operation was monitored and validated by the ASN (French Nuclear Safety Authority), which reported no anomalies. Testing can now begin.

On May 8th, ASN authorized EDF to load the fuel into the Flamanville EPR. The nuclear regulator confirmed that the operation was completed on Wednesday, May 15th. In an interview with AFP, Julien Collet, Deputy Director General of the ASN, explained: “The fuel loading was completed yesterday (Wednesday) around 12 PM.”

“Next, we close the vessel. Then, tests are conducted with the vessel closed. Afterward, there will be stages of pressure and temperature increases that will allow testing of other safety devices,” he further specified, on the sidelines of the presentation of the ASN’s annual report on the state of nuclear safety in France on May 16th.

No Anomalies

On LinkedIn, Christophe Quintin, Chief Inspector of the Nuclear Safety Authority, wrote: “A team of four ASN inspectors conducted an inspection of the fuel loading activities into the EPR reactor vessel […] This team was divided into two sub-teams, one dedicated to examining the organization and validation of the state change (transition to ‘shutdown for reloading’), fundamental for nuclear safety, and the other dedicated to the fuel loading activities themselves.” “No significant anomalies were found by the inspectors,” he concluded.

ASN will need to give further authorizations after the reactor starts up. In particular, its approval is necessary during divergence (the first nuclear reaction), then when reaching 25% power and finally at 80% power. Before this power escalation, the EPR will be connected to the electrical grid, which is expected to occur during the summer of 2024. ■

By Ludovic Dupin (Sfen)

Photo: Flamanville EPR reactor buildings – @LOU BENOISTAFP