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Warning on faults in EPR nuclear reactors – Commission de Recherche et d’Information Indépendantes sur la Radioactivité

French nuclear giants are heavily involved in the EPR in Taishan, China:
Framatome in terms of design, construction and fuel supply, EDF in terms of
operations with its participation (30%) in TNPJVC. Furthermore, the
feedback from first years of operation of Taishan 1 and 2 is obviously
essential for the safety of other EPRs.

EDF must therefore monitor incidents affecting these facilities very closely. In June 2021, the
national and international press widely reported on the affair of the
problems of ruptures of nuclear fuel cladding for the Taishan 1 EPR reactor
in China. This 1,750 MWe reactor of power is the first EPR to be put into
commercial service in the world (in December 2018).

Degradation of nuclear fuel led its operator, TNPJVC, to a shutdown “anticipated”, on July 30,
2021, i.e. around 6 months ahead of the initial duration of the cycle.
Anticipation was quite relative because the sheath rupture problems had in
fact been identified as early as October 2020 and the reactor should have
been shut down well before July, in order to limit the radiological risks
for workers and residents.

The CRIIRAD had alerted on this subject in a
press release1 published on June 14 2021. Several causes can be at the
origin of these ruptures of sheaths. Without being exhaustive, some may
implicate design flaws in the reactor, others manufacturing flaws, other
more faults involving the operation and/or maintenance of the Taishan 1
reactor. Some could turn out to be generic and also concern the other EPR
reactors under construction. CRIIRAD 22nd Feb 2022

February 26, 2022 - Posted by | France, safety

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