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NRA Says Weak Steel Components Not Used in Japan Nuclear Plants

If you believe the nuclear “regulator”, all the bad nuclear parts were the ones that were sent overseas to France, and the Japanese ones went thru better quality control.
If you don’t believe them, at least 11 reactors have defective reactor pressure vessel lids. That’s the part of the nuclear reactor that blows high in the air when the reactor overheats, explodes, and melts down.

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The Nuclear Regulation Authority says potentially weak steel components manufactured by a Japanese company have not been used in domestic nuclear facilities, after its French counterpart ordered reactors that used the company’s parts to be checked.

The NRA determined at a regular meeting Tuesday there is no comparable risk at the domestic nuclear facilities of 11 companies as portions of steel with excessive carbon concentrations had been removed from the components manufactured by Kitakyushu-based Japan Casting & Forging Corp.

The NRA concluded that the removal of portions with higher levels of carbon was insufficient in the components used in the French reactors.

The authority also determined there were no problems with critical parts at domestic facilities that were manufactured by other companies, including Tokyo-based Japan Steel Works Ltd.

The French Nuclear Safety Authority said in June it had found potential weaknesses at a number of nuclear facilities due to steel with higher levels of impurities supplied by Japan Casting & Forging, prompting the NRA to commence its own investigation.

Utilities in Japan checked their facilities and submitted reports to the NRA last month.

According to the reports, Japan Casting & Forging manufactured pressure vessel lids for 11 reactors at seven nuclear power stations, including the No. 2 reactor at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama power plant in Fukui Prefecture.

The company’s pressure vessel lids were also used at the No. 2 reactor at Kansai Electric’s Mihama plant in Fukui Prefecture and the No. 1 reactor at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture, both of which are set to be decommissioned.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/22/national/nra-says-weak-steel-components-not-used-japan-nuclear-plants/

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November 22, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Japanese Flawed steel Components at the Center of French Nuclear Crisis – Major Questions & Implications for Japanese Reactors Safety

25 October 2016, Tokyo – The safety and regulation of the Japanese nuclear fleet is called into serious question by the discovery of Japanese-manufactured flawed steel components installed in operating French nuclear reactors forced to shut down last week by the French nuclear safety regulator ASN, according to a new Greenpeace report. The threat to nuclear reactor safety in Japan is due to the supply of steel components to the nuclear industry from both Japan Casting and Forging Company (JCFC) and the Japan Steel Works (JSW), according to the technical report (http://bit.ly/2eMqJMm) released today by Greenpeace Japan, by the nuclear engineering consultancy, Large&Associates of London. Evidence of astonishingly high levels of excess carbon far outside regulatory limits with the associated loss of steel toughness and significant increase in the risk of catastrophic failure of primary containment components, have been discovered in JCFC-manufactured components installed in steam generators in 12 reactors owned by the French state-utility, EdF. The independent French nuclear agency, IRSN, recently warned that due to the excess carbon content, there was an increased risk of failure of the affected steam generator leading to a potential reactor core meltdown.(1)

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These components are so fundamental to reactor safety, and consequences so potentially severe, that in every country with nuclear reactors across the planet, nuclear regulators require that these components must not have any possibility of failure under any operating circumstance over the lifetime of the reactor – so-called “break-preclusion” for the reactor safety case. For this reason the French regulator warned its worldwide counterparts, including the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in Japan, of the potential enormity of the situation should their nuclear power plants have similarly flawed components installed.

During the period 1994-2006, JCFC supplied flawed components to France, which somehow managed to pass through the quality assurance controls of JCFC, the supplier Areva, and the French regulator to be installed in operating reactors. How the defects were not detected along the supply chain has not yet been disclosed. A commissioner from the NRA is visiting France this week to discuss the crisis.

From 1984-1993, JCFC also supplied steam generator components to the following Japanese reactors: Takahama 3&4, Sendai 2, Tomari 1&2 and Tsuruga 2; JCFC steam generator and reactor pressure vessel components are installed in a total of 14 Japanese reactors (not including two reactors at Fukushima Daiini).

As a result of substandard manufacturing in Japan, citizens in France have been unknowingly exposed to the risk of catastrophic failure of critical reactor components which could result in a reactor core meltdown. Japanese-supplied steel is now at the center of France’s unprecedented nuclear crisis the scale of which has never been seen in any country. All 12 reactors supplied by JCFC are either in forced shutdown or about to be. It lacks all credibility that the Japanese nuclear industry would claim that there are no implications for the safety of their own nuclear reactors. The steel production records released in France did not reveal the scale of excess carbon, which was only found after physical testing. There are currently no plans for such tests in Japan. That is wholly unacceptable. There are many urgent questions that need to be answered by the industry and the NRA, and with full public disclosure and transparency,” said Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany.

The French nuclear safety regulator has been investigating components supplied by both JCFC and the Japan Steel Works (JSW). Test results obtained by Greenpeace in June 2016 indicated that there was a possibility of excess carbon problem in JSW-manufactured components in the steam generator boiler pods – there are 3 or 4 steam generators in each pressurized water reactor PWR nuclear power plant, each weighs upwards of 300 to 400 tonnes and, typically, the cost of replacement is around US$130 to 150 million.

Since the French publication of the JCFC and JSW component test results, it has been claimed that JSW components are free of excess carbon. However, no tests results proving this have been disclosed and Large&Associates research raises questions over the credibility of this claim. The non destructive testing that has been conducted in France is incapable of identifying the scale of excess carbon. Large&Associatess recommends destructive testing as the only guaranteed method for proving carbon concentration.

The fact that French nuclear reactors have been operating with flawed Japanese-supplied critical components is astounding. This is an utter failure of both nuclear regulation and on the part of the Japanese steel suppliers to meet quality control requirements. The implications for Japan may be even greater, as JSW is also implicated in this scandal because it supplies the forged steel parts that make up the reactor pressure vessel, which is the very heart of both PWR and boiling water reactors (BWR) used in Japan. Every reactor in Japan has critical components from these two suppliers and they must all undergo non destructive testing, with the priority being the two reactors currently in operation, Ikata-3 and Sendai 2, which must be immediately shutdown and tested, in addition reactors slated for decommissioning must have their components destructively tested, ” said John Large, head of Large&Associates.

The Japanese utilities are required to submit documentation to the NRA by 31 October 2016 detailing the quality of the steel components supplied by Japanese companies, JCFC, JSW and the other steel supplier, JFE. This is however only a paper exercise and not the result of actual physical testing of components installed in reactors.

Greenpeace has today sent a copy of the Large&Associates report to the NRA. A series of urgent questions will be submitted, via a member of the Japanese Diet, to the NRA in the coming days.

Priority reactors to be assessed and tested in Japan due to their status: operating, possibility of early operation or approval by the NRA for restart are: Ikata 3, Sendai 2, Takahama 2, Takahama 3&4 (under appeal by Kansai Electric); and next in line for approval by NRA – Genkai 3&4 and  Kashiwazaki-kariwa 6&7.

Notes:
(1)  The Japanese supplied components under investigation in France are designated Class 1, by which they are not permitted under any circumstances to fail during operation due to the potentially severe consequences. Specifically the components are Steam Generator tube support plates, elliptical domes, and bottom channel heads; as well as Reactor Pressure Vessel upper and lower heads, rings and pressurizers. The French governments Institute for Radiological and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) warned in August that there was a risk of reactor fuel melt down if steam generators with excess carbon operated. A maximum carbon limit is set by regulation to prevent a reduction in the toughness of the steel in the steam generators and Reactor Pressure Vessel, reduced toughness can lead to thermal shock induced fast fracture, where the steel shatters like glass. See, IRSN, 2016 2016-00275 Objet: EDF – REP – Paliers CP0, CPY et N4 – Ségrégations en carbone des fonds primaires de générateurs de vapeur – Analyse de sûreté et mesures compensatoires, 5th August 2016.

Download the report

For further information:
Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist, Greenpeace Germany (Tokyo): shaun.burnie@greenpeace.org, +81 (0)80 3694 2843

Kendra Ulrich, senior global nuclear campaigner, Greenpeace Japan: kendra.ulrich@greenpeace.org, +81 (0) 90 6478 5408

Chisato Jono, communications officer, Greenpeace Japan: chisato.jono@greenpeace.org, +81 (0)80-6558-4446

http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/ja/news/press/2016/pr201610251/

 

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Five French nuclear reactors with Japan-made parts ordered to undergo safety tests ahead of schedule

Some Japanese reactors also used steel from JCFC, according to statements from the companies:

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France’s Nuclear Safety Authority has ordered the country’s EDF utility to conduct checkups at five nuclear reactors ahead of their scheduled maintenance tests, citing potential weakness in critical parts manufactured by a Japanese company, French media reported Tuesday.

All five nuclear reactors are using parts made by Kitakyushu-based Japan Casting & Forging Corp. (JCFC), which is now under scrutiny by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The NRA discussed the matter at its regular meeting on Wednesday as it has also found the company manufactured reactor pressure vessels in 13 Japanese nuclear reactors including the Sendai Nos. 1 and 2 reactors operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co. in Kagoshima Prefecture.

The Sendai No. 1 reactor is undergoing a regular checkup while the No. 2 reactor is in operation.

In addition, the NRA said JCFC had been manufacturing important components at the No. 2 unit at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Mihama plant in Fukui Prefecture and No. 1 unit at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear plant in Saga Prefecture, which have already been decommissioned.

The French nuclear watchdog ASN said earlier in June that parts manufactured by JCFC using a method called “forging,” in which metals are hammered and extended, contained a high carbon concentration that could lead to lower-than-expected mechanical strength.

In the documents submitted to the NRA meeting, JCFC admitted there is a possibility that the parts used in nuclear power plants in France contain carbon higher than the regulated limits, but parts used in Japan are manufactured after removing high-carbon concentration from steel.

According to the media reports, safety tests have already been carried out at seven of a total of 12 reactors in France that used parts manufactured by JCFC. Parts at four of the seven reactors are believed to contain a higher carbon concentration than permitted by standards.

Following these findings, ASN told EDF to test the remaining five reactors within three months.

France has 58 commercial nuclear reactors. At the No. 3 reactor at Flamanville nuclear plant, which is under construction, parts made in 2014 by Creusot Forge, a subsidiary of France’s Areva SA, were found to be lacking in strength. ASN later discovered that the parts manufactured by JCFC also had problems.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/10/19/national/five-french-nuclear-reactors-japan-made-parts-ordered-undergo-safety-tests/#.WAendSTKO-d

http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2016/10/439407.html

Read also the related articles from September 3 & 5, 2016 :

https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2016/09/03/steel-in-troubled-french-nuclear-reactor-used-in-13-japanese-reactors/

https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/jcfc-steel-in-troubled-french-reactor-also-used-in-13-japanese-nuclear-power-plants/

 

October 19, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese steel in French nuclear facilities found to have high impurity level

The concentration of impurity in steel a Japanese manufacturer supplied to nuclear facilities in France exceeded the standards set by the European country, Japan’s nuclear watchdog said Wednesday, meaning the steel could be weaker than expected.

Briefed recently by French regulators about the finding, the Nuclear Regulation Authority is looking into allegations regarding the products provided by the Kitakyushu-based firm under scrutiny, Japan Casting & Forging Corp.

The NRA said it needs to carry out tests to evaluate whether the steel is in fact lacking in strength.

The French regulators said in June they found steel containing larger-than-expected amounts of impure substances in facilities such as reactor pressure vessels at 18 reactors operating in France and are investigating the matter. The steel products in question were made by Japan Casting & Forging and Creusot Forge, a subsidiary of France’s Areva SA.

In August, the NRA ordered local utilities hosting nuclear power plants in Japan to examine reactors and other major parts at the plants. The utilities have been asked to report the results to the NRA by the end of October.

Japan Casting & Forging is also under scrutiny in Japan as it is responsible for the construction of reactor pressure vessels in 13 Japanese nuclear reactors including the Sendai Nos. 1 and 2 reactors operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co. in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Currently, the two Sendai reactors are operating in Japan after passing stricter safety checks in the wake of the 2011 nuclear crisis that crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in Fukushima Prefecture.

Japan Casting & Forging had said earlier it has removed the impurities from its steel as instructed by its clients.

The NRA said the standard for carbon content in metals — a gauge of impurity — is below 0.22 percent in France, while the figure in Japan is below 0.25 percent.

But in some products provided by the Japanese firm in some nuclear facilities, carbon content in steel was over 0.3 percent.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/14/national/japanese-steel-french-nuclear-facilities-found-high-impurity-level/#.V9l5QTX8-M8

September 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

JCFC steel in troubled French reactor also used in 13 Japanese nuclear power plants

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Thirteen Japanese nuclear reactors were constructed with steel made by the same domestic company that produced material used in a French power plant that has come under scrutiny after anomalies were found in the structure of its reactor vessel.

Six utilities used steel from Japan Casting & Forging Corp. (JCFC), they all said in separate statements Friday. The company was identified by Japanese authorities last month as having supplied steel to the Flamanville nuclear plant, developed by Electricite de France SA and Areva SA, where the French safety authority last year found weaker-than-expected steel.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority asked utilities last month to examine reactor parts made by the same companies that supplied the Flamanville facility. Utilities must now evaluate whether their reactor pressure vessels meet national standards and report the results to the regulator by Oct. 31.

It’s just to be sure,” said an NRA official.

JCFC said it has thrown away steel parts that lead to weaker products, adding that its steels have cleared the safety criteria.

The Japanese facilities affected include Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai No. 1 and 2 reactors in Kagoshima Prefecture, the company said Friday. The plant was restarted last year and is facing opposition from a new governor who has demanded they be temporarily shut for inspections.

Reactors now in operation don’t need to be shut down, Yoko Kobayashi, an official with the NRA’s planning division, said Friday. The affected utilities are now required to submit manufacturing reports and past evaluation results, she said.

The steel scrutiny is the latest hurdle for the nuclear power industry since the 2011 Fukushima disaster and could hamper the government’s goal of having it account for as much as 22 percent of its energy mix by 2030.

Local court challenges have threatened reactor operations, and even those restarted under new post-Fukushima safety rules have faced a rocky road. Only three of the nation’s 42 operable reactors are online.

Parts made by JCFC met rigorous standards requested by the utilities, and the company will provide support going forward, JCFC official Seigo Otsubo said Friday.

EDF and Areva are conducting additional tests to determine whether the anomalies present a safety issue. The two companies said in April that the submission of their report to French regulators about the Flamanville reactor has been delayed until year-end.

EDF has also determined that steam generator channel heads at 18 French reactors contain anomalies similar to those at Flamanville, Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, the safety regulator, said in June.

According to statements from the utilities, the domestic reactors made with steel from JCFC include: units 2 and 4 at the Fukushima No. 2 power plant run by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.; unit 2 at the Takahama power plant and units 1 and 2 at the Oi power plant, both run by Kansai Electric Power Co.; reactors 2, 3 and 4 at the Genkai plant and reactors 1 and 2 at the Sendai plant run by Kyushu Electric Power Co.; reactor 2 at the Ikata plant run by Shikoku Electric Power Co.; reactor 1 at the Shika plant managed by Hokuriku Electric Power Co.; and reactor 2 at the aging Tsuruga plant run by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/04/national/jcfc-steel-troubled-french-reactor-also-used-13-japanese-nuclear-power-plants/#.V8x3Fa3KO-c

September 5, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment