A French government commission has called for improvements in the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants, including their ability to withstand terrorist attack, putting further pressure on state-backed power utility EDF. The parliamentary commission set up to look at the safety and security of nuclear installations in France said, in a report published on Thursday, that the fleet remain vulnerable to accident and attack. The report comes at a time of heightened political pressure for heavily indebted EDF, which operates France’s nuclear fleet and faces a multi-billion euro bill to extend the life of ageing plants. Although an EPR is now coming online in China, EDF is waiting for its Flamanville plant in France, which is seven years late and €7bn over budget, to start up. A recently discovered problem with weldings has increased uncertainty. EDF’s EPR projects in Finland and at Hinkley Point, south-west England, are also running late and over budget. According to the parliamentary report, the NGO Greenpeace has, over the last 30 years, “conducted 14 intrusion attempts in order to demonstrate the vulnerability” of the French nuclear sites. The commission put forward 33 suggestions to improve the situation – including reducing reliance on subcontractors, putting more police on the ground at nuclear sites, reconsidering waste disposal methods, being clearer on the timeline for shutting down plants and strengthening the powers of the French nuclear regulator, the ASN.
FT 6th July 2018 read more »
France’s nuclear plants are a safety threat because of their excessive reliance on outsourcing, the risk of terror attacks and a lack of operational rigour, a parliament report said. France is the world’s most nuclear-reliant country, with state-owned EDF generating 75 percent of its power from 58 ageing nuclear reactors spread around the country, many of which have suffered safety scares in recent years. Following a string of nuclear plant break-ins by Greenpeace militants, aimed at highlighting the vulnerability of EDF’s reactors, the French parliament launched an investigation into nuclear security in February.
Reuters 5th July 2018 read more »
[Machine Translation] Safety and security of power stations: “Subcontracting in nuclear power is a monumental stupidity”. Subcontracting in the nuclear sector, which is one of the problems pointed out by the parliamentary report on the safety and security of nuclear sites handed over on Thursday, July 5, was strongly denounced by Pascal Pavageau, the new secretary general of the Force Ouvrière union.
France TV 5th July 2018 read more »
[Machine Translation] Nuclear report: NGOs demand the application of measures. Experts and NGOs critical of nuclear urged Thursday the government to implement as soon as possible the recommendations of a parliamentary report stern with respect to the safety and the security of the nuclear power stations French. The parliamentary inquiry commission on the safety and security of nuclear installations published in this report, resulting from five months of investigation, 33 recommendations to reinforce the safety and security of nuclear sites in France. “The recommendations formulated by the Commission must now be taken into account and implemented,” explains Yannick Rousselet, nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace France.
Montel 5th July 2018 read more »
[Machine Translation] The technical difficulties on the EPR “are related to the loss of experience” (Pierre-Franck Chevet, ASN). PIERRE-FRANCK CHEVET – We have entered a period of unprecedented stakes, if we exclude the intensive construction phase of the 1970-1980s. All plants, but also facilities cycle or research reach forty years in the coming years. This does not necessarily mean the end of life, but the question of the following necessarily arises: at the industrial level, do these equipment suffer from aging problems? Are they and will they be well managed? What can be done to get as close as possible to the safety levels of the EPR? After Fukushima, the French ambition for safety has been particularly high. Many measures have been effective since the end of 2015, but we have asked for additional measures. Mobile or light means (diesels, pipes) are already in place, but similar hard means remain to be deployed. How do you explain the difficulties encountered on the site of the EPR Flamanville? There has been no construction of new facilities for a long time and the resumption of manufacturing is accompanied by a lot of problems in terms of time, quality, safety … The technical difficulties are real, and related to loss of experience. On the EPR, certainly there are several under construction in the world, but for a long time there was very little exchange between the teams of the various sites. It’s very different from what happened in France when the park was under construction. To make matters worse, these operational difficulties occur as farmers face financial difficulties, although the situation has improved since the recapitalization.
La Tribune 5th July 2018 read more »
EDF reacted to the report of the parliamentary commission of inquiry on nuclear by ensuring that nuclear safety is its priority. Documents from the Nuclear Safety Authority to which Mediapart had access – unlike MEPs – reveal the opposite. Prevention of the risk of explosion in several plants is highly flawed. I nspections of the Nuclear Safety Authority were carried out in March 2017 and 2018 on the risk of explosion at the Chinon, Flamanville, Penly and Paluel power stations. The conclusions of these inspections are identical: EDF does not comply with the ATEX (Explosive Atmosphere) regulations and underestimates the risk of explosion in these plants. These elements, to which Mediapart had access, do not however appear in the report of the parliamentary commission of inquiry made public this Thursday, July 5th.
Mediapart 5th July 2018 read more »