French Regulator Outlines Conditions For Creusot Forge Restart

French nuclear power regulator Autorite de Surete Nucleaire (ASN) said Wednesday it had outlined conditions for the restart of Areva NP's Creusot Forge in France that has been closed down since the discovery of quality control problems.

Le Creusot ForgeAreva NP has informed the ASN of its intention to restart the forge to manufacture nuclear pressure equipment for French BNIs. On April 12, ASN responded with a letter sent to Areva NP and EDF, defining preconditions for resumption of forging, which has been closed down since December 2015.

The plant was closed in eight months after tests at the Flamanville Unit 3 construction project in Normandy found steel components with high levels of carbon, which creates a weaker steel. After the steel used for the pressure vessel head and pressure vessel bottom was discovered to include the so-called anomalies, an in-house investigation ensued. After that investigation, Areva announced that they had found numerous instances of mis-managed quality control paperwork.

The ASN said “serious past technical and organizational malfunctions were brought to light in 2015 and 2016 in the Creusot Forge plant. Areva NP therefore implemented an action plan to guarantee the quality of future production by this plant.”

The ASN also inspected the plant several times, employing the Multinational Design Evaluation Program (MDEP) in 2016.

The ASN said, that prior to the restart of manufacturing, Areva must complete the action plan and monitor whether or not the actions already taken are proving to be effective.

Meanwhile, the regulator said it was continuing to inspect Le Creusot parts in other power plants to ascertain whether or not parts with compromised steel have been installed in operating reactors. Various anomalies have been found “on the channel heads of certain steam generators,” according to the World Nuclear Association.

Reviews are also underway to ensure quality control guarantees at Areva NP manufacturing plants as well as a review of subcontractor monitoring practices.

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