Since we have been following the Nuclear Industry PR spin closely we constantly have to read and listen to some laughable claims about nuclear energy and how they can get placed in newspapers. One of the funniest ones is European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) by AREVA being the world's safest and most powerful reactor. We can only imagine such a claim has been lifted straight from the industry pr handout. A little investigation – which we frequently do in this weblog as you know - would reveal that there are no EPRs in existence and so far only two under construction, Olkiluoto 3, Finland and Flamanville, France.
Both these EPRs have been experiencing problems since groundbreaking began. Even in the very early stages of building, there have already been safety problems reported related to both the concrete and the welding. Only last week, the Finnish Nuclear Safety Authority, STUK, had to admit that the supervision and safety culture of welding in building of Olkiluoto 3 are not up to standards. Similarly, in May this year the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) suspended construction on the concrete base of the EPR at Flamanville. And finally after three years of construction OL3 is more than two years behind schedule and Euro 2.2 billion over budget.
So far rather than being the world's safest or most powerful they are in contention for being the world's latest and most expensive and if they can't even get the welding right perhaps even the most dangerous, although the competition for that is stiff.