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Macron warned of horror ‘nuclear accident’ as CRACKS appear in EDF’s reactors

FRENCH President Emmanuel Macron has been sent a horrifying warning as cracks have been detected in some of EDFs nuclear reactors in France.

 https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1625813/edf-cracks-nuclear-reactor-accident-power-plant-France-energy-emmanuel-macronBy ANTONY ASHKENAZ, Wed, Jun 15, 2022 ,

A new report has warned Mr Macron of significant corrosion safety problems in EDF nuclear power plants in France as cracks detected in some nuclear reactors could risk causing “nuclear accidents”. The cracks were first detected in an emergency cooling circuit of reactor no. 1 of the Civaux power plant in October. The report also warned that the upcoming Hinkley Point reactor in the UK could face a similar situation   Similar cracks have been discovered in three other 1500 MW reactors and of the Penly 1 reactor (1300 MW) , prompting them to be shut down as well.

The report notes that several reactors have faced “stress corrosion” which is often characterised by “cracking of a material… the stresses are linked to manufacturing operations and in particular to welding operations”.

Dr Bernard Laponche, the co-author of this study warned that the risk from stress corrosion is serious writing: “If the defects detected on the welds evolve, they can cause a breach in the main reactor cooling system.

While France has a large fleet of nuclear reactors generating about 70 percent of its energy, many of these reactors are ageing, with French regulators pushing the scheduled shutdown of over half of EDF’s reactors by over a decade. 

The report added that there are a number of likely reasons why several of these reactors were cracking, which include “a degradation mechanism that simultaneously involves the material and its intrinsic characteristics, the mechanical stresses to which it is subjected and the nature of the fluid that circulates.”

According to the French nuclear regulator ASN, the “geometry” of the circuits concerned is the main cause for this defect, while EDF blames “thermal stratification”, or contact between two types of steam with different temperatures coming into contact. 

The authors warned against France’s decision to extend the lifespan of these nuclear reactors from 40 years to 50 after 58 of the country’s reactors were set to shuitdown.

The authors wrote: “In any case, if the vulnerability of the 900 MW reactors were confirmed, the question of extending the operating life of these reactors beyond 40 years would have to be re-examined.

“It would also be necessary to examine the possibility that the EPR reactors at Flamanville, Olkiluoto and Taïshan, as well as those under construction at Hinkley Point, might themselves be concerned, insofar as they were designed on the basis of the 1500 MW N4 model.”

EDF is currently building the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset and was previously set to come online in 2026.

Last month, EDF warned that as a result fo the pandemic, Hinkley Point C would be delayed by another year to June 2027, and will cost another £3billion to complete. 

However, they assured that there would be no cost impact to the British taxpayer as a result of the delay. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK has invested heavily in nuclear energy, announcing plans to generate a quarter of the UK’s energy supply from nuclear sources by 2050. 

The Government aims to launch 8 new nuclear reactors to replace 5 of the 6 existing plants that are set to be shut down by the end of the decade. 

Express.co.uk has reached out to EDF for comment. 

 

June 20, 2022 - Posted by | France, safety

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