French nuclear energy group, Areva: anomalies and suspected falsifications

Press release - 16 June, 2016
Paris, 16 June 2016 – A briefing on anomalies and suspected falsifications by Areva based on findings at the group’s Creusot Forge site was today published by Greenpeace France.[1] The briefing also presents a non-exhaustive list of nuclear power stations around the world which may be affected. The briefing highlights a pressing need for independent inspection procedures and safety tests for every suspected part. Greenpeace France demands the immediate suspension of affected nuclear operations until all these inspections are carried out.

The list, drawn up by Greenpeace France, is based on public and non-public information. The findings make clear that in a dozen countries at least, reactors in Europe and around the world are equipped with parts manufactured at Creusot and therefore potentially affected by anomalies or the suspected falsifications.

To ensure complete transparency, Greenpeace France asks that this list of parts, along with detailed information about incriminated documents and the nature of the irregularities, omissions or modifications, be made public.

This detailed list must be released to the French authorities, the public and to the authorities and the public of each country concerned. Each country’s safety authorities and regulators must be able to decide how to audit stations which use parts that were machined at the Creusot site and on any action to be taken.

Operations must be suspended so that the quality and safety of these parts can be confirmed

Since the incident was made public, France’s Environment Minister, Ségolène Royal, Areva, and recently EDF, have quickly minimised the impact of the revelations by claiming that there are no mechanical problems with the parts.

Greenpeace France energy campaigner, Cyrille Cormier, said:

“EDF and Areva can’t be both judge and jury in their own case! The true quality of the parts cannot be guaranteed without carrying out independent inspections — under the ASN’s supervision — of the documents and, if necessary, of the parts themselves.”

Once the list of concerned facilities is published, Greenpeace France asks that operations be halted immediately to identify any necessary inspections and additional evidence that may be required. The report reviews two examples abroad in which reactors were stopped to perform inspections. This is an essential measure to remove any doubt as to the quality of every incriminated part.

The potential falsifications and anomalies call into question the quality of identified parts and are a major safety risk because the parts involved are large components which are essential to operating the reactors: components in vessels, which contain nuclear fuel in lids, in pressurisers, which maintain pressure in the primary system and in the heads in steam generators, which evacuate heat to the secondary circuit, among others.

In the case of the EPR vessel in Flamanville, initial inspections carried out on a head similar to those in place revealed the problem which Areva claimed it had under control thanks to its manufacturing and quality control system.

“We cannot bury our heads in the sand with a problem of this scope! Nuclear safety is at stake: carrying out inspections is crucial,” concluded Cormier.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

[1] Read the brief in English here

Contact:

Méryl Sotty, Communications Officer, Greenpeace France, + 33 (0)6 73 89 48 90,

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