September 25, 2017 / 12:43 PM / 9 months ago

Anti-nuclear group sues to block EDF's Flamanville reactor approval

PARIS, Sept 25 (Reuters) - An anti-nuclear group has launched a lawsuit to try to stop French nuclear regulator ASN giving its final approval for the flawed containment vessel of the nuclear reactor that utility EDF is building in Flamanville, northern France.

Observatoire du Nucleaire said in a statement on Monday that it had launched summary proceedings with the Paris court seeking to force the appointment of an independent nuclear expert to investigate whether the vessel is fit for service. A hearing has been set for October 10.

In June, the ASN issued a provisional ruling declaring the Flamanville reactor vessel fit for service despite weak spots in its steel, but said that EDF would have to replace the reactor cover by 2024 at the latest. It also said Flamanville will need constant extra monitoring over its lifetime.

The ASN’s final ruling is due in October following a round of public consultations, and is expected to be in line with the initial ruling, which was based on a report by its technical arm IRSN.

The ASN declined to comment on the anti-nuclear group’s court action.

French anti-nuclear activists and unions have repeatedly filed legal challenges to block nuclear projects such as Flamanville and Hinkley Point, Britain, but the projects remain on track.

The long-delayed Flamanville reactor is due to start up late next year. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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