Nuclear power plants around the world may be using the same faulty parts that have caused problems at the troubled reactor at Flamanville, France. This comes as French nuclear firm Areva has admitted that hundreds of quality control documents are missing key information which could identify defective parts. Areva is also leading the construction of the Hinkley nuclear plant in Somerset. Last month the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) announced that parts produced for the Flamanville project by Areva’s manufacturing facility Creusot Forge had been found to have ‘irregularities’. This discovery prompted a review of decades worth of documents produced by the plant — and lead to the identification of another 400 potential defects. These documents either misreported or failed to report the levels of carbon or other elements in metallic parts that are required to have a specific level of strength. In some vessels, excess carbon could undermine the mechanical ability to withstand sudden breakdown in certain conditions. Roughly 60 of the most safety-sensitive parts currently in use at 19 nuclear reactors across France came from Le Creusot. This week the ASN shut down EDF’s 900MW nuclear reactor Fessenheim 2 in order to further investigate suspected irregularities in a steam generator. Along with Blayais 1, it is the only EDF reactor so far that requires closer inspection. According to a Greenpeace analysis of Areva client data, there are at least a dozen countries around the world operating reactors fitted with parts made at Creusot Forge — and which could be potentially affected by errors or falsifications.
Energydesk 18th June 2016 read more »