France shuts down Flamanville nuclear reactor over transformer failure

General view of the operating power plant in Flamanville. © Benoit Tessier
One of the reactors at France’s Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant has been shut down due to technical failure. No radiation leak has been reported, with the plant operator saying that the incident has had no impact on the environment or safety.

Employees of the nuclear power plant in Flamanville discovered a technical problem at the reactor number two on Tuesday at around 6:15pm. The pressurized water reactor was switched from the faulty main transformer to a backup, but on Wednesday the Electricite de France S.A. (EDF) decided to fully stop work of the reactor.

A preliminary diagnosis will be carried before proceeding to do maintenance work on the unit. No restart date has been announced, as the electric company is still examining the fault.

“This event has no impact on plant safety, or the environment", EDF emphasized.

Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant is located at Flamanville, Manche houses two pressurized water reactors (PWRs) that produce 1.3 GWe each. The reactors, amounting to some 4 percent of France’s total nuclear generation, went into service in 1986 and 1987. A third, a €10.5 billion ($11.48bn) Areva European Pressurized Reactor, with a capacity of 1,650 MWe is currently being constructed on site.

France has 58 nuclear reactors operated by EDF with total capacity of 63.2 GWe. The country derives two thirds of its electricity from nuclear generation.