Unplanned Events

Majority Of Most Significant Le Creusot Cases Do Not Pose Safety Challenges, Says ASN

By David Dalton
23 September 2016

23 Sep (NucNet): 23 Sep (NucNet): A review of findings regarding irregularities in the manufacturing tracking records for nuclear power plant equipment manufactured at Areva’s Le Creusot forge facility in France has shown that out of 23 cases that posed the most significant safety challenges, 21 do not call into question the safety of the components, nuclear regulator Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) said in a statement today. ASN said it had carried out the review in conjunction with France’s Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN). It said regardless of their actual safety consequences, these irregularities highlight “unacceptable practices” and further irregularities are likely to be found. ASN said the audit, which has been expanded to include Areva’s Chalon Saint-Marcel and Jeumont facilities, must be implemented in full. ASN said 87 irregularities had been identified including 20 on components for the Flamanville-3 EPR unit under construction in northern France. ASN is continuing the examination of possible irregularities in a steam generator at Unit 4 of the Bugey nuclear power station in central France. The unit is offline and the issue will need to be resolved before it can be restarted, ASN said. ASN has also suspended the test certificate of a steam generator at the Fessenheim-2 nuclear unit in eastern France. ASN said the Fessenheim-2 shutdown would allow for “further investigations” on the steam generator after irregularities detected at Le Creusot. In July 2016 Areva said initial analysis of irregularities at Le Creusot had not called into question the mechanical integrity of any components. The company said initial analysis had been completed and given to the customers concerned, both in France and overseas. The analysis concerned components delivered to nuclear reactors in operation and under construction, and transportation containers. Problems with manufacturing records were first discovered at Le Creusot in April 2016. Areva told ASN at the time that an internal audit had found irregularities in manufacturing checks on about 400 parts produced since 1965, about 50 of which were still in use at French nuclear power stations. The irregularities consisted of “inconsistencies, omissions or changes in manufacturing files”. They were discovered as part of a quality audit which began at Le Creusot in 2015.

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