Less than two weeks ago, the French nuclear regulator, ASN, published a press release on the English part of its web site entitled “The situation regarding nuclear safety and radiation protection is worrying ASN remains vigilant“, 30/01/2017 5:36 pm. In it they quote the ASN Chair, Pierre-Franck Chevet, as having told the press on January 18th that “a year ago, the situation with regard to nuclear installations was worrying in the medium term. If I had to summarize my thoughts today, I would say that the situation is worrying. I omit “in the medium term“. Unlike the US NRC, the French ASN appears to want to do its job, but is short-staffed, as well as in the difficult situation of being a government department trying to hold majority government-owned (EDF-Areva) companies accountable. This includes the need to watch-dog both old reactors and possible manufacturing defects (both new and old) at Areva Le Creusot. In short, they are in over their heads, but at least they seem aware of this fact and are worried. Up until now, the US NRC appears to lack any such excuses, and shows little concern, though the new US administration may well shut the US NRC down. Regarding Flamanville – David Lochbaum of the Union for Concerned Scientists explains that “Fire is a major hazard at nuclear power plants because it can, as it did at Browns Ferry, disable primary safety systems and their backups.” The Spokesperson for Wise Paris adds that there is a risk that a large enough explosion or uncontrolled fire could impact the nuclear reactor itself. The French nuclear safety authority, ASN, news release, itself, speaks of a detonation, rather than an explosion. Both words occur in French and English.
Mining Awareness 10th Feb 2017 read more »