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Operators at unit 3 of France’s Flamanville nuclear plant on 8 February, successfully started the EPR unit’s turbine as part of ongoing hot testing, according to a statement from EDF.

It is the first time that an EPR turbine has reached a speed of 1500 rpm, according to Adrien Mahé, EDF head of mechanical and conventional testing.

“This is an unprecedented step for the Flamanville-3 site”, he said.

To allow for turbine operation, water in the primary circuit had been heated to 303 degrees Celsius at a constant pressure of 15.4 MPa then cooled down in order to create steam.

The speed of turbine rotation was gradually increased until it reached the nominal speed required when the power plant will be in operation.

Several months of preparation were required to carry out this operation, and more than 50 EDF and General Electric employees were mobilised.

The 1600MWe Flamanville 3 EPR unit began construction in 2007 and was expected to cost €3bn and to be ready in four years. Start-up of the reactor is now scheduled for 2022 and the cost of the project has been reassessed to €12.4bn.

Date: Friday, 14 February 2020
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