The French nuclear safety regulator ASN has reported extremely serious defects in the European Pressurized Reactor being built at Flamanville (France) by the French nuclear company Areva.
The detected defects have to do with substandard material used in crucial components, the bottom and the lid of the EPR pressure vessel, the very heart of the reactor. These components cannot be repaired once the reactor goes critical.
This revelation coincides with Prime Minister Modi's visit to France, during which he is expected to finalize a nuclear agreement with Areva. It should force the Indian government to rethink its nuclear expansion plans.
The EPR's design and construction have run into unending problems both in France and Finland, where the first such reactor has been under construction since 2005. Its completion has been delayed from 2009 at least till 2018, and its costs have nearly tripled.