Britain’s nuclear watchdog was made to wait more than a fortnight for key files from energy giant EDF confirming that components recently revealed to be suspect had not been used in one of Britain’s largest nuclear power stations. Emails released under the Freedom of Information Act show that in early May, France’s EDF Group initially rebuffed requests from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to hand over files about a foundry in France that made specialist parts for EDF’s reactors. The request followed a shock announcement by the foundry’s owner, Areva, on 2 May that quality control reports could have been falsified. The email trail shows the ONR was still making requests for a components list on 18 May, 16 days after the safety fears were first aired. Dr David Lowry of the Institute for Resource and Security Studies, who obtained the emails, said they raised questions about the regulator’s powers. “ONR has run into so many difficulties in obtaining safety documentation from the French nuclear industry. How will it obtain key documents from the notoriously secretive Chinese nuclear industry, if they get permission to build their own reactors at Bradwell, on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex?” The watchdog said EDF had informally advised it that none of the components in Sizewell B posed a safety risk. But, without access to the files, it had to rely on the French firm’s assurances.
Guardian 6th Aug 2016 read more »