Both Areva and EDF have found themselves reprimanded in recent months by nuclear safety authorities during the construction process of the EPR. Areva also remains in a fierce battle with its utility client in Finland, where the reactor is at least three years late and several billion euros over budget.
Alongside increasing costs, construction times have proven to be problematic. The last four reactors that were built in France, two units in Chooz and two in Civaux, were only connected on average 10.5 years after construction work began, and subsequent safety problems caused further delays. Their official industrial service only started in 2000 and 2002 respectively, some 15.5 and 12.5 years after construction started.
– French nuclear reactor costs are just as out of control as they are in the U.S. The EPR has been promoted as a technology that makes nuclear energy cheaper and more competitive. When the decision was made to build an EPR in Finland in 2002, the government promised that it would cost Euro 2.5 billion and take only four years to build. The final contract, three years later, put the price at Euro 3 billion and construction time was set at 4.5 years. Since construction began in summer 2005, a variety of technical problems have led to a three and a half-year delay, extending the construction period to at least 7 years. The currently estimated additional cost is Euro 2.3 billion, raising the current price tag to Euro 5.3 billion, almost 75 percent over the initial estimate.