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Serious safety problems found in 8 of France’s nuclear reactors

This failure raises even more questions in risk facilities, such as the plant of Areva LaHague whose pools contain the equivalent of 130 cores of nuclear power plants …

Severe abnormalities detected on fuel pools of eight French reactors   Greenpeace France 29 June 12 Network “power without atoms” received and analyzed internal documents released today to EDF and IRSN  who report anomalies on fuel pools of nuclear reactors Paluel, Flamanville and St. Alban. Abnormalities that could have serious consequences in case of earthquake.

See all the documents published  An anomaly on lines of swimming pools …

This anomaly affects part of the piping circuit called “siphon break”. This device is actually a hole 20 mm diameter pipes that is supposed to prevent the accidental draining of pools of fuel in case of problems on circuits purification and water treatment.

The accidental draining of a fuel pool would be a serious event: the spent fuel, still extremely hot and radioactive, must be continually cooled. If there is more water to cover them, so these fuels could melt inside!

The Network for Nuclear Phaseout today reveals  that this anomaly was determined on no less than 8 French reactors, located at Flamanville (Manche), Paluel (Seine-Maritime) and Saint-Alban (Isere).

An additional risk: the earthquake

In addition, the pools of these eight reactors, some of the piping of the refrigeration circuit and water filtration is not designed to withstand earthquakes!

Accordingly, in case of earthquake, the combination of these two anomalies could result in about an hour to start uncovering a fuel stored in pools. Remember that the Saint-Alban is located in the Rhone Valley, a zone of seismicity “moderate”.

This issue of the risk of draining storage pools for spent fuel siphoning has also been widely raised during audits conducted by the interagency working group CLI (local board of intervention) Post Fukushima (La Hague, Flamanville, MSC) and has been for several months.So far, these issues have not received a satisfactory response from the operators who preferred to this day, deny the problem.

This failure raises even more questions in risk facilities, such as the plant of Areva LaHague which pools contain the equivalent of 130 cores of nuclear power plants …

Anomalies already known … but not resolved!

Indeed, in January 2012, anomalies in the case of the siphon Cattenom plant had been detected and classified in Tier 2 of the scale Ines ASN (see ASN class to level 2 on the INES non-compliance with a piping of reactor pools 2 and 3 of the Cattenom plant  ). Yet this same problem still exists, today, on no less than eight reactors, so that of St. Alban, who had been judged “laggard” for several years in terms of compliance with safety procedures by the ASN it same.

And yet …

This is the ASN, which this June 28, held a press conference to communicate the work that will require manufacturers to take into account the feedback from Fukushima.   “Many think that Fukushima is behind us, but it is actually before us “ , has also emphasized how the CEO of ASN, Jean-Christophe Niel. Work post Fukushima, certainly, but what about pre Fukushima anomalies?

ASN has presented a series of 32 decisions, each with thirty recommendations for 19 nuclear power plants operated by EDF but also eight sites Areva (fuel related) and 5 sites of Atomic Energy Commission (CEA, for the research part). But some of these decisions, yet crucial, are only considered as “under consideration”, and have not been imposed on manufacturers.

Work … to better extend the power?

These “mass work” will take years and require investment to the tune of several billion euros … It begs the question of the appropriateness of such investments as the new president has promised to lower the share of nuclear power in the electricity mix by 2025. These massive investments they will freeze any possible decision to close other plants for the next ten years?


June 30, 2012 - Posted by | France, safety

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