NUCLEAR: SHUTDOWN OF TAISHAN REACTOR N ° 1, EDF TAKES NOTE
PARIS (Reuters) – The operator of the Taishan EPR in China on Friday announced its decision to shut down the No.1 reactor at the nuclear power plant, in which fuel rod leaks responsible for ‘an accumulation of rare gases has been detected.
This decision by TNPJVC, responsible for the operation of the plant and joint venture owned by China General Nuclear Power Group – or CGN (70%) – and by EDF (30%), corresponds to what would be done in France in the same situation. , recalled EDF in a written statement after taking a position in this direction on July 22.
“EDF remains mobilized to provide its expertise in shutting down the reactor”, he added following the announcement of the decision by CGN.
The question of shutting down Taishan’s No.1 reactor arose in mid-June after a CNN article mentioning a leak from the plant and an increase in the level of radiation authorized outside the site, which the Chinese Ministry of the Environment subsequently denied.
EDF indicated on July 22 that, according to the data at its disposal, “the radiochemical parameters of the water in the primary circuit” of the reactor remained “below the regulatory thresholds in force at the Taishan plant, thresholds which are consistent with international practices “.
On this occasion, the French group confirmed its initial hypothesis according to which the increase in rare gases in reactor n ° 1 at Taishan was due to “the leakage of fuel rods”, this one presenting “an evolutionary character”. the subject of “continuous monitoring by the operator”.
EDF also explained that a shutdown of reactor n ° 1 in Taishan would make it possible to stop the degradation of the defective fuel cladding, to understand the causes of their loss of tightness and to limit the extent of the cleaning and decontamination of the circuit. primary that will be needed.
Taishan fuels were manufactured in France by Framatome – now an EDF subsidiary – at its site in Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme).
GREENPEACE CALLS ON THE NUCLEAR SAFETY AUTHORITY
The Taishan EPR is the first of its type to enter service at the end of 2018. The plant has a second reactor of the same model, also designed by the former Areva (now Framatome), whose operation commercial started in September 2019.
Four other EPR-type reactors are under construction around the world: one in Finland (Olkiluoto), one in France at Flamanville (Manche) and two in the United Kingdom (Hinkley Point).
“While many uncertainties remain, this incident should have serious consequences on the hypothetical commissioning of all the EPRs currently under construction,” said Greenpeace France in a press release.
The NGO notably asks the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), which monitors the construction of the Flamanville EPR, “to shed light on the causes of the deterioration of the fuel used in the Taishan reactor. -1 “.
(Report Benjamin Mallet; edited by Jean-Stéphane Brosse)