A major irregularity was detected during the remounting of a steam generator on EDF’s 900 MW Gravelines 5 nuclear reactor, a top EDF official told parliament on Tuesday. EDF Vice President for Nuclear and Thermal Dominique Miniere said that following questions over irregularities at Areva’s Creusot plant which have led to several investigations, EDF decided to reexamine the manufacturing and control file on the steam generator that was about to remounted on Gravelines 5 reactor during the summer following a scheduled maintenance. “The reexamination showed a major irregularity whose origins were unacceptable,” Miniere said. He added that as the generator was not mounted, the reactor was still on halt while EDF is waiting for the first of a series of new series steam generators that were ordered for another reactor but will be used in Gravelines. The Gravelines 5 reactor has been halted since April. 9 and was expected to restart production on March 31, 2017. Miniere did not give a new time schedule.
Reuters 25th Oct 2016 read more »
[Google Translated] Benjamin Dessus and Bernard Laponche: Recent weeks have been full of discoveries about the real state of the French nuclear fleet. We already knew that the tank of the Flamanville EPR reactor exhibited defects that may prohibit its use: too high concentrations of carbon in the lid and the bottom of the tank which, weakening steel, were likely to lead to breakage of the tank in the event of thermal shock. This obviously crucial issue for the future of the Flamanville EPR is under investigation by the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) which will make its diagnosis and prescriptions in March. But in recent weeks, we also learned that this manufacturing defect also affected 18 reactors currently in operation at the tank or steam generator. ASN asked the provisional closure of those reactors in order to diagnose the severity of the situation and the ban meant restarting the steam generator of a reactor at Fessenheim. In question, the forge of Creusot, Areva of property, but also a Japanese company that might not have sent to France its best products. This is obviously a disaster on many levels. First, nearly a third of the nuclear fleet is found stopped at the approach of winter, more than 20% of the total capacity of French production. It is a real headache for EDF. It is not worth going to look beyond the government’s decision to abandon its solemn commitment to establish a floor price of CO2 applied to coal plants. This would obviously be detrimental to the national company already weakened financially that hastily restarted coal plants that still has. Then the discovery of defects on such important equipment as tanks, steam generators and pressurizers is even more serious than these defects are formally excluded assumptions different accident scenarios. These materials are indeed supposed to obey a principle “break preclusion”. The discovery of these manufacturing defects therefore questions the architecture and the very philosophy of the calculations that lead to probabilities display serious or major accidents. What do indeed these calculations if it is discovered serious and irreparable defects on the most critical and supposedly perfect material? Areva may have quietly falsified certificates of conformity requisMais there are even more serious. ASN, concerned about this spate of discoveries launched an investigation to Areva to check parts of hundreds of compliance with the required specifications. And then another surprise, the discovery of hundreds of “barred cases” in which Areva could have quietly falsified certificates of compliance required. A practice he seems common of which was hard-pressed to imagine whether from an isolated initiative. Anomalies and falsifications on hardware supposed perfect: everything is there. In the words of Jacques Repussard in 2011, then director general of the Institute of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), “You have to imagine the unimaginable.” With half of the French nuclear fleet situation deteriorated nuclear safety, we are there and it is very serious. Before these “discoveries”, the president of the nuclear safety authority said: “A major nuclear accident can not be excluded anywhere.” In the current situation, it is less and less excluded in France. The parallel with the German dieselgate obvious. Non respected technical standards on critical materials for safety, of falsified certificates in bulk to get the green light from the authorities, everything is there, but with a more decisive factor: it is not as in Germany under the direction of a multinational dictatorial boss that “nucléogate” occurs, it is in quasi-nationalized companies under the aegis of the elite of the great French technical body that boast of their devotion to the country and their honesty . And this, it seems, with total impunity for leaders.
AlterEcoPlus 25th Oct 2016 read more »