Le Creusot Investigations Continue; ASN Calls Anomalies "Unacceptable"

AREVA said Friday that it was continuing on several levels with the investigation of manufacturing and paperwork anomalies that involve components made at the Le Creusot forge. In April 2015, an audit of records at the forge found numerous discrepancies. The investigation, however, began with the discovery during an inspection at the Flamanville EPR reactor at the end of 2014.

AREVAThe French nuclear regulator Autorite de Surete Nucleaire (the Authority for Nuclear Safety) said it had published the list of irregularities detected so far involving the anomalies that affected certain items manufactured by AREVA NP's Creusote Forge plant for French nuclear reactors.

These irregularities concern EDF reactor pressure equipment (vessels, steam generators and main primary system piping) and transport packagings for radioactive substances, the regulator said.

To date AREVA NP has identified 87 irregularities concerning EDF reactors in operation, 20 affecting equipment intended for the Flamanville EPR reactor, one affecting a steam generator intended, but not yet installed in the reactor 5 of Gravelines Nuclear Power Plant and four affecting transport packagings for activated substances.

Electricite de France (EDF) informed the regulator that it had completed the characterizations of the irregularities affecting its reactors in service. The utility, similar to AREVA NP, has determined that “these irregularities have no consequences for the safety of the reactors concerned,” said ASN.

ASN is conducting its own investigation into the anomalies, jointly with the Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire (IRSN). The regulator said it is assigning priority status to 23 cases “which in principle have the most significant safety implications.”

For 21 of the cases, the ASN has concluded that the irregularities have no safety concerns attached to them. Investigations continue in the case of a steam generator in reactor 4 of the Bugey NPP, currently shut down. A restart there is contingent on ASN approval.

ASN has suspended the test certificate for a steam generator in reactor 2 of the Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant, which includes a mandated shut down. EDF and AREVA continue to analyze that situation, looking into additional tests that could inform a decision there. Regarding one of the steam generators on Fessenheim 2, a divergence from the forging of the lower shell of the steam generator was found, AREVA said.

The ASN said that whatever the outcome of these investigations, the irregularities “reveal unacceptable practices." The reviews need to continue “and are liable to bring further irregularities to light,” the regulator said.

AREVA said Monday that it had signed a contract with Synatom, a subsidiary of Engie Group, for the design and manufacture of 30 TN24 used fuel transportation and dry storage casks for the Belgium nuclear power plants Doel 2 and 4 and Tihange 1,2, and 3. The contract, said AREVA, is valued at “several million of euros,” without specifying an amount.

The contract calls for an option of additional casks up to 2030. It was won through a competitive process that involved “the main market players.”

AREVA said it is supplying Synatom with an innovative container design adapted to the mixed oxide (MOX) fuel loading and meets the most restrictive safety criteria. 

Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now!