Chinese nuclear power plant would have been closed in France: co-owner – .

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Chinese nuclear power plant would have been closed in France: co-owner – .


The Chinese nuclear power station of Taishan would have already been closed in France, announced Thursday the French company which contributes to its exploitation, a month after having warned against an “imminent radiological threat” on the site. Electricity of France (EDF), which is a co-owner of the Taishan plant, said in June that there had been a build-up of noble gases at nuclear reactor No.1, adding that it was a “phenomenon known, studied and provided in reactor operating procedures. “

CNN reported at the time that the reactor was leaking fission gas, adding that EDF warned in a letter that the Chinese security authority had raised the regulator’s “off-site dose limits”.

Thursday, EDF announced in a press release that the analysis of the loss of sealing of the fuel rods on the site indicated that the situation “was evolving”.

The company stressed that in France, it would have shut down the reactor “in order to accurately assess the current situation and stop its development”, although it did not directly call on China to close the power plant. Taishan. The press release said that decisions relevant to Taishan belong to Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co. (TNPJVC).

EDF owns 30% of TNPJVC. The remaining 70% is held by China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN).

Despite the announcement that it would have closed the plant if it had been in France, EDF added that the radiochemical parameters at Taishan are still below the regulatory thresholds in force at the plant, which it says is in line with international practice.

In June, CNN reported that EDF sent a letter to the US Department of Energy warning it that the Chinese security authority was increasing the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the plant in the province of Quebec. Guangdong in order to avoid its closure.

A source told the news channel at the time that the Biden administration believed the power plant was not yet at “crisis level.” If there is a risk to the Chinese public, the United States would be required to disclose it under current nuclear accident treaties.

Framatome, a nuclear reactor company owned by EDF, has contacted the United States for a waiver that would allow them to share American technical assistance to resolve the issue. The exemption can only be granted for two reasons, one of which is an “imminent radiological threat”.

China has denied that there was a leak at the Taishan plant or that it raised acceptable limits for radiation detection. The China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) reported that continuous environmental radiation monitoring confirmed that there had been no radiation releases and that there were no environmental concerns.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported in June that the ACEA had informed it that the plant was in “a normal state and that operational safety is guaranteed”. The CAEA added that the reactor suffered a “minor fuel rod cladding failure” which caused an increase in radioactivity in the unit’s reactor primary coolant, claiming it was a “Common phenomenon” at the plant.

The IAEA explained that although such failures lead to an increase in the radioactivity of the reactor coolant, the reactor can continue to operate safely as long as the levels remain within the normal operating range. Such failures are a “known and not uncommon occurrence,” according to the agency.

This is not the first time that concerns about the Taishan plant have been raised.

EDF warned in 2016 that design flaws emerged during testing of European pressure reactors (EPRs) designed by the French nuclear company Areva, which are used at the Taishan plant, according to Radio Free Asia. The amount of radioactive nuclear fuel stored at Taishan is three times that stored at the Fukushima plant in Japan, according to RFA.

“There have been so many trust issues that many people now think the quality control at this nuclear power plant is substandard,” engineer and sustainability activist Albert Lai told RFA in 2016. “In addition, the problems are much more serious. than we thought. “

EPRs in other countries suffered numerous delays due to a multitude of faults, including fears that they could crack during operation.

The Taishan EPR was the first to enter commercial operation. However, just a week before it entered service, China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) identified “six major problems” in the reactor, according to a Hong Kong Free Press report in 2018.

A number of other issues were reported with the reactor before it began to operate, with the NNSA pointing to 20 areas for improvement at Taishan, including pipelines requiring frequent repairs due to weld faults, according to the website. ‘information.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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