French energy giant EDF was warned about problems at its steel-making facility more than a decade ago and yet it continued to produce potentially defective parts for nuclear projects, according to newly published documents. The Creusot Forge plant is under investigation by the nuclear regulator ASN after it was discovered to have produced potentially defective parts and substandard safety reports for reactors around the world. But letters from 2005 and 2006 – obtained by France Inter – show that EDF and Areva were told by the ASN about “numerous incidents” at the facility, including “discrepancies during inspections”. This may raise concerns about EDF and Areva’s new nuclear project at Hinkley Point in the UK, which just started construction. Paul Dorfman, senior research fellow at UCL’s Energy Institute, told Energydesk: “The UK nuclear regulators have said they have lost all good faith in Areva, which designed the Hinkley reactor. “It is difficult to see how this can end well.” Today’s reports suggest that EDF and Areva knew that there were problems at Creusot Forge years earlier, and yet it continued to produce defective parts for nuclear projects such as the giant power station planned at Flamanville. At the heart of the French nuclear crisis is EDF’s flagship project Flamanville, where the long-delayed reactor serves as a model for Hinkley. EDF is currently awaiting a verdict from the French nuclear regulator ASN over the allegedly faulty parts produced by Creusot Forge, including the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) at the heart of Flamanville.
Energydesk 31st March 2017 read more »
[Machine Translation] The Creusot forge is in the sights of the nuclear industry for having made doubtful parts. Documents show that EDF and Areva were alerted in 2005. Never before had the French nuclear industry suffered such a scandal. And this case that challenges the entire chain of control of a sector already shaken by the Fukushima disaster. The Creusot forge supplied non-compliant parts to several plants. Among them, the tank of the EPR of Flamanville which is still awaiting validation by the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). However, two documents obtained by France Inter, and several testimonies show that EDF and Areva had been alerted as of 2005 of the malfunctions of this factory. Despite this, the two manufacturers continued to entrust to him sensitive manufactures. We obtained the report of the ONR, the British security authority (document below). It is devastating for the French industrialist. English nuclear expert Paul Dorfman admits that he “rarely saw the ONR as severe in a report”. Among other things, foreign visitors discovered that Areva’s technicians continued to correct their relations with white correcting fluid. A practice banned in the nuclear, where one must always have the history of modifications, that neither the auditors of Areva, nor those of EDF who had passed before, had noted. Above all, the inspectors doubt that the measures taken by Areva to restore the factory in the right way will be sufficient. And they suggest that EDF is turning to another supplier for the two EPR project at Hinkley Point. A catastrophic prospect for the Creusot forge. During a visit to the site last May, Emmanuel Macron, then Minister of Economy, estimated that there would be “several hundred layoffs” on the spot if the factory did not get the English market.
France Inter 31st March 2017 read more »
EDF and Areva knew of problems at a French factory that makes nuclear reactor components as long as 12 years ago, according to documents revealed in the French media. Nevertheless, the state-owned companies decided to continue making critical parts for a new nuclear reactor at Flamanville in Normandy at the factory, which later was found to contain safety flaws. The station at Flamanville, the forerunner for the new plant under construction at Hinkley Point in Somerset, is heavily delayed and over-budget. In 2015 France’s nuclear regulator identified weak spots in the steel used to make the reactor pressure vessel, which was manufactured at Areva’s Le Creusot plant in eastern France. The weak spots were feared to be vulnerable to cracking, prompting an investigation that also found that staff at the Le Creusot forge had falsified documents used to certify components. France Inter, a radio station, said yesterday that Areva and EDF had been told of the problems with quality control at Le Creusot as far back as 2005. EDF said that warnings in 2005 and 2006 had prompted action to rectify the problems. A spokesman for EDF Energy said that the problems at Le Creusot would not affect work at Hinkley Point. Steel forgings would be made to the “most stringent nuclear standards”, he added. The French nuclear regulator said it would rule on the safety of the Flamanville reactor “this summer”, later than previously hoped.
Times 1st April 2017 read more »