EPR Flamanville. “An exceptional moment”: these employees talk about loading the uranium

EPR Flamanville. “An exceptional moment”: these employees talk about loading the uranium
EPR Flamanville. “An exceptional moment”: these employees talk about loading the uranium

By

Géraldine Lebourgeois

Published on

May 17, 2024 at 12:37 p.m.

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The start of fuel loading into the core of the Flamanville EPR reactor took place on May 8, 2024. Employees have the feeling of having experienced a unique moment.

A collective of 30 people

The loading operation mobilizes a collective of 30 people, who work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in an “uninterruptible” operation until the entire massif is formed, to constitute the heart of Fla 3.

Head of Driving Department, Katia Rio describes the entry into the operational phase. “The first assembly, on May 8, was an exceptional moment. The teams have been mobilized for many years, we have trained on false assemblies, including in accident conditions, even if the risk is very low, and in parks already in operation, in Taishan, in China, to be ready D-day. “

Today, it is no longer an exercise. And when I see the serenity that reigns today, I am satisfied.

Katia Rio, head of the Driving department

“There is no room for improvisation”

Everyone stays focused on what they have to do. “They are in a bubble, we were there even before the ASN authorization, we were waiting for the signal to launch operations but we were ready,” continues Katia Rio. “They know what they have to do, there is no room for improvisation. No one is looking for each other, the machines are well adjusted and we leave our post with a smile. We started in this state of mind and we will finish with this same state of mind, when all the fuel is loaded and in complete safety and security. »

3×8 operation

Fabien Cudelou, loading manager, was present in the control room. “We are in close contact with the teams who take care of loading. We also operate in 3×8 (Editor’s note: 6 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 9 p.m.) and a debriefing is provided between each team to prepare for succession and share information. »

EPR Flamanville fuel loading Fabien Cudelou 10052024 ©Géraldine LEBOURGEOIS

We are in the nerve center of the EPR, in the room where handling is controlled, where information on the progress of the loading is transmitted…

Fabien Cudelou, loading manager

“We all share great pride”

The role of the technician is to ensure that everything happens within the framework of the loading plan by following, on the screens, thanks to a completely computerized interface, parameters such as the water level, the temperature in the pool, etc.

“We are living in a historic moment! », Enthuses the young man. “All these years, we have participated in the tests, we have continued to carry out our procedures by learning with the support of feedback from the EPR reactors in China and Finland, by also working on a simulator… And today, all By continuing to work as we do every day, we all share great pride. »

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