June 12, 2018

Framatome and the EPR reactor: a robust history and the passion it takes to succeed

by Bernard Fontana, Chairman of the Managing Board and Chief Executive Officer of Framatome

"The Taishan 1 EPR reactor in China started up on June 6. This first chain reaction comes as the culmination of intense work accomplished by the nuclear industry for which Framatome is one of the key actors, as a part of the EDF Group. Framatome, the designer of this Generation III+ reactor, is proud, as I am proud, of this first start up, which underscores and rewards the years of engineering devoted to achieving this success alongside our client TNPJVC. As one of the largest commercial contracts ever granted to the French nuclear sector and, more generally, in the history of the civil nuclear industry, the Taishan 1 & 2 project confirms Framatome's position as a major nuclear actor. On this project, we have handled the design engineering, the supply of the nuclear islands, and the provision of the fuel assemblies, as well as related technology transfers.

Today, Framatome is involved in the six EPR reactors under construction worldwide: Taishan 1&2 in China, Olkiluoto 3 in Finland, Flamanville 3 in France and Hinkley Point C in the United Kingdom. The EPR reactor, specified for a 60-year operating lifetime and with a capacity of 1,650 MWe, is the first Generation III+ pressurized water reactor and has been designed to deliver unsurpassed levels of safety, durability and performance. All of Framatome's expertise in nuclear project management and our lessons learned from the construction of numerous nuclear facilities in France and around the world, have gone into this genuine “first-of-a-kind” reactor model. The EPR therefore benefits from decades of research and development aimed at ensuring the safe and secure operation of the reactor. The EPR has been designed to minimize its environmental footprint and optimize waste management and the exposure of its operators and maintenance personnel.

As the reactor designer, Framatome has brought all its experience to bear in the field of licensing alongside a great number of regulatory bodies, particularly in France, Finland, China, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Framatome makes a point of supporting its customers in the start-up of its EPR reactors and places its depths of competencies at the disposal of operators to help drive major new build projects. So that today, so that tomorrow, nuclear energy is and shall remain a strategic choice for low-carbon and ever more reliable, safe and competitive electricity."