Design flaws in a French-built nuclear reactor currently being tested at a power station on the southern coast of China have sparked safety concerns in neighboring Hong Kong, experts and local media reports said. The U.S.$8.3 billion Taishan plant is among the first in the world to use European pressurised reactors (EPR) designed by French nuclear firm Areva, which recently sold a majority stake to energy giant Electricite de France (EDF). Problems with the design of the reactors have emerged during testing, however, and were cited by EDF in a recent recommendation to the U.K. parliament that it postpone the Chinese-invested Hinkley Point nuclear plant, which had also planned to use EPR technology. In a letter to U.K. lawmakers earlier this month, EDF said there may be “identical flaws” in the Taishan power plant, which lies just 160 km (100 miles) from the densely populated Pearl River Delta region, which includes Hong Kong. Meanwhile, prolonged delays to an EPR reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland have resulted in multibillion-euro litigation between Areva and the Finnish energy group TVO. While Taishan has already postponed its scheduled opening by one year to 2018 after the discovery of too much carbon in the walls of the reactors, officials are still pushing for the plants to go ahead as planned, campaigners said in Hong Kong this week. Last month, the concrete shells encasing the plant’s two pressure reactors were sealed, according to drone images gathered by Hong Kong’s crowd funded investigative news agency FactWire, which means that the EPR units can’t be removed or replaced now.
Radio Free Asia 24th June 2016 read more »