THE company planning to build a Sizewell C nuclear power station says it is confident the project will avoid the cost over-runs being experienced with construction of the same type of reactor at a site in France.

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A European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) is currently being built at Flamanville where EDF, the state-owned French utility company, has just disclosed another rise in capital cost, this time of more than £1.6billion, taking the total to £6.4billion.

It attributes the latest rise to a range of factors including engineering problems and extra regulatory demands as a result of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

However, it maintains that the lessons learned from Flamanville – the first EPR to be built by EDF - will enable it to control costs at Sizewell C and at Hinkley Point in Somerset, the proposed site of a similar power station.

Another EPR – being built in Finland by a different company – is several years behind schedule and well over budget.

But Sizewell B, which began generating electricity in 1995 and remains the UK’s only American-style pressurised water reactor, was completed on time and only slightly over budget at £2.03billion.

EDF’s UK arm, EDF Energy, said yesterday that its project team shared experience from 50 nuclear power construction sites throughout the world.

More than 800,000 hours of engineering studies had been completed on the EPR design as part of the generic design assessment by UK regulators, it said.

Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson , EDF’s director of nuclear new build, said: “EDF Group is steadily rebuilding and revitalising the skills, know-how and technologies of the nuclear industry and the lessons learned will allow us to successfully deliver major projects here in the UK.”

Joan Girling, chair of the Suffolk-based Communities Against Nuclear Expansion, said the further cost increase at Flamanville was not unexpected. “The cost of new nuclear is set to spiral at a time other technologies are coming down in price,” she said.

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