France shuts nuclear reactor amid Areva parts scandal

France shuts nuclear reactor amid Areva parts scandal
Photo: AFP
French authorities have been forced to close a nuclear plant reactor for testing over concerns some of the parts may be faulty.

A French nuclear power reactor has been shut down for additional testing, the nation's regulator said Thursday, as
Greenpeace called for full disclosure of facilities using possibly faulty parts from Areva.

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said reactor 2 at the Fessenheim plant operated by French national power company EDF had been halted since Monday “to carry out additional investigations” on its steam generation system following problems with parts discovered at an Areva manufacturing facility.

The ASN said EDF had completed a review of 79 other irregularities, which it described as diverse “incoherencies, modifications and omissions in the manufacturing files concerning construction parameters and test results”.

Areva announced at the end of April that it had found “anomalies” at its Creusot manufacturing facility during an audit it launched following the discovery of errors in the production of the steel cover for the reactor vessel for the new European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), a third-generation reactor design considered the most advanced and safest in the world.

ASN said Areva reported discovering anomalies concerning other parts destined for the EPR reactor in the northwestern French town of Flamanville, but it did not have details.

Meanwhile Greenpeace called for full transparency and halting of affected reactors until independent testing of the parts is completed.

“These potential falsifications and anomalies call into question the quality of identified parts and are a major safety risk, as the parts involved are large components which are essential to operating the reactors,” Greenpeace France said in a statement.

Greenpeace said reactors in more than a dozen countries were affected.

The ASN said Areva would directly inform international clients about affected parts.

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