French regulator ASN (Autorite De Surete Nucleaire) chastised the utility EDF this week in a letter that says that certain welds at the nearly completed Flamanville 3 reactor in Normandy have not been monitored correctly, despite previous concerns and earlier mandates to improve oversight.
Concern over the welds first arose in 2015. As recently as July, ASN informed EDF that resuming certain welding operations on main steam transfer pipes were contingent on regulatory conditions. “These pipes have been the subject of design and production deviations about which ASN communicated” on several previous occasions, the regulator said in a public statement.
According to Reuters, ASN is now asking for a broader investigation into the breadth of the welding problems. Despite previous concerns “a failure of monitoring by EDF on certain activities,” has prompted the wider probe.
ASN “therefore asks EDF to extend the review on the quality of equipment installed on this reactor,” the regulator said in a letter dated October 2.
The review should notably be based on in situ controls and documentary reviews, complementary to those carried out during construction and assembly operations.”
In mid-2017, EDF postponed the start up of the European Pressurized Reactor to sometime in 2019 due to the welding problems. At that point, EDF said that more than 50 welds of the secondary circuit would have to be re-struck, while 85 to 95 were considered done according to specifications.
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