The national nuclear power regulator in France, Autorite de Surete Nucleaire (ASN) has opened a public review of an order that would force utility giant EDF to review records involving any of the components in active nuclear power plants that were fabricated at the Le Creusot forge, which is owned by Areva.
The forge is at the center of a controversy that began in April 2015, when the ASN revealed that metal-weakening anomalies created by areas of high-carbon concentrations in the steel, had been found in two of the already installed major structural components of the pressure vessel head at the Flamanville nuclear power plant expansion project.
The anomalies were found in the steel of the bottom vessel head and the closure head, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The ripple effects of the discovery have been substantial, including closure of the forge in east-central France after inspections discovered poorly managed paperwork at the forge, including test results for parts that were missing or poorly recorded. The “irregularities” in the paperwork called into question the quality of some 400 forged components manufactured at the plant, including some dating as far back as 1965.
The draft order, open to public review through September 10, would mandate a review of all records of Le Creusot-forged components with the EDF review to be completed (and results submitted to the ASN) within two months of a restart of any operating nuclear power plant. The reviews, in this manner, would be scheduled for completion, with two months leeway provided for regulatory responses, during scheduled maintenance or refueling outages.
Such a schedule would mean the reviews would all be completed by the end of 2018.
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